ProsCons: More money can come

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 18, 2004

DEMOPOLIS— Jay Shows, who is the Director of the Demopolis Chamber of Commerce said normally when a SuperCenter comes to town the overall sales tax revenue, would increase for the city. There will also be more traffic coming to the area to shop, just not at the Wal-Mart, but the various other businesses as well.

“The question of how much comes to mind,” Shows said, “But you really can’t guess because it depends on the amount of stay at home money.”

The current Wal-Mart in Demopolis does about 30 percent less than the SuperCenter in Jackson, but the SuperCenter in Thomasville blows them both away, he said. It should be fun to see which store the SuperCenter in Demopolis will mirror.

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Dr. Habib Bazyari, who is the Dean of the College of Business from the University of West Alabama, has worked on many studies on the world of retail business including the affects both positive and negative that comes with a Wal-Mart SuperCenter.

Bazyari, who has been involved in many projects in Meridian, MS including dealing with the early planning of the Benita Lakes Mall, did an economic impact study on the pros and cons of building the mall there.

“My background is dealing with the world of the retail businesses and the affects both positive and negative they can cause to a city,” Bazyari said.

These companies like Wal-Mart bring four very strong positives to the negotiating table, he said. This is always true in every study I’ve conducted of retail businesses.

“The Wal-Mart SuperCenter is a true gateway store,” Bazyari said, “Other stores will always follow and this is something that must be pushed by the leaders of the community.”

The first strong positive of an incoming SuperCenter is the lower cost of products and groceries, he said. This will happen because of the demand on the lowest price groceries, which makes all the competition try to beat the best deal.

“This is always good for the consumers because the groceries and the other products will became cheaper,” Bazyari said.

The second strong positive is the psychological impact of being chosen to house a SuperCenter, he said. This is always a very big issue because it shows the citizens that the town is big enough to handle one.

“The idea of a SuperCenter locating in a town is one of empowering the people to believe that the town is growing in the right direction and can hold many other quality stores as well,” Bazyari said.

The third positive will be the higher tax revenue for the city that the store locates in, he said. This will be especially true because the residents that use to travel to Meridian and Tuscaloosa to get their groceries will stay here.

“These people that stay or the people coming in will shop at other places as well or maybe stop and eat lunch, thus creating more tax funds for the city’s use,” Bazyari said.

The final positive will be the overall increase in jobs from the SuperCenter, he said. When more people are working that means that the city is collecting more taxes.

“The increase in jobs from a regular Wal-Mart to a SuperCenter should be close to 100,” Bazyari said.

Connie Lawson, a resident from Demopolis expressed her pleasure in learning about the incoming SuperCenter to Demopolis. It’s about time they finally put one here because Food World needed some competition with its prices.

“I’m so excited about the SuperCenter because I use to go to a discount food store in Brent, AL and do my shopping,” Lawson said.