Monday, March 20, 2006


Walmart and Local Businesses Cont.

About a month ago, I suggested that Walmart may not hurt the businesses of the community that it is in as much as the businesses in close-by neighboring communities. Driving around the metropolis of Maysville, KY, population less than 9,000, this past weekend I saw further evidence of this.

Strung along the highway in several places were poster size signs that a furniture store in Ripley, OH, 7 miles distant, is going out of business. This is a family owned business that carries excellent quality furniture. The Ripley store is the original location for the store. About 12 years ago, they opened a second store in Maysville which has the Walmart Super Center. The store in Maysville survives. The original store down the road closes.

A small billboard announced the closing of a Honda motorcycle dealership in Flemingsburg, KY, about 15 miles south of Maysville. The store is moving to Maysville, close to the Walmart.

Despite a stagnant population, the town with the Walmart continues to see an increase in businesses, locally owned and otherwise. The neighboring small towns appear to be seeing a decrease. At the least, certainly do not seem to be keeping pace.

To what do you attribute this seemingly odd effect?
I believe it is due to a couple of factors. 1) Mayville has always been a regional commercial center. This is primarily because it lies on the Ohio River and is also a crossroad. In the earlier days it was a good place for river boats to deliver goods. In fact Maysville's population peaked in the late 1800's. Now, Maysville has two bridges that cross the Ohio River. You must travel 50 miles or more in either direction for reach another bridge across the Ohio River. Highways U.S. 68 and State Rt. 9 cross in Maysville. These are the two primary highways in the region and make it easy for people in surrounding counties to reach Maysville.

2)Highway 9 was completed in the the early 1990's which made it even easier for people to get to Maysville. Walmart arrived about the same time. With the increased number of people coming to Maysville to shop at Walmart, other businesses have been able to attract some of these people to shop and eat at their establishments. This has created a snowball effect. The more stores and restaurants in Maysville the stronger the attraction to go there to shop eat, etc., (plus Maysville has the only movie theater within 50 miles any direction). Presently you have to drive 60+ miles to Lexington or the Cincinnati area to find better shopping.
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