I know that the small businesspersons in Salmon Arm think that Walmart coming to town will hurt their business. In the vast majority of cases, this is simply not true.
Want proof? Just take a look around Salmon Arm today.
Have you noticed the number of other businesses that have closed in town since Target closed out Zellers? Why is that? It’s because Zellers kept a lot of people shopping in town and drew in people from surrounding communities.
If you’re a small businessperson, ask yourself if your sales have dramatically increased since Zellers closed?
Did you know that right now it’s almost impossible to buy something as common as a bath towel in Salmon Arm?
Clothing is also so much harder to find, and you certainly don’t have much of a selection. For this reason, more and more people will begin to travel to Vernon or Kamloops. And don’t think this won’t affect your restaurant, gas station, barber shop, or other business that wasn’t in direct competition with Zellers.
Since people have to go to the bigger cities anyway, they’ll do those things while they’re there.
Even tourism will hurt. People like vacationing in the wilderness, but also like having the amenities close by.
Outer communities will simply change the direction they travel to get their goods.
Salmon Arm has begun a downward spiral and if the town council (made up of mostly business owners) doesn’t do something quick, it’s going to hurt this town more than you can imagine.
People are creatures of habit. Once they get into the routine of shopping in other places, it will not be easy to change that routine and get them back.
Believe me, I know what I’m talking about.
Cal W. Newsham