Journal-Times (Grayson, KY)

Local News

April 11, 2012

What happens when Walmart comes to town?

April 11, 2012 —     That question Tuesday sparked what may have been Carter County’s first public discussion of the potential impact of a Walmart store on businesses in the Grayson area.

    The scene was the monthly luncheon meeting of the Grayson Area Chamber of Commerce.

    The topic came up when Chamber President Mark Strother asked for any remaining business before the meeting was adjourned.

    It prompted a 15-minute discussion which ended when Strother promised the topic would be explored at future meetings, starting with the Chamber’s May 8 noon session at Kentucky Christian University.

    One person noted that Walmart had impacted the Grayson business community since the 1998 opening of its store at Cannonsburg in Boyd County, just 15 miles away.

    Those on the west side of Carter County have closer access to the Walmart Supercenter in Morehead, about 20 miles from Olive Hill.  Walmart has been in Morehead since 1988.

    The notion of Walmart coming to Grayson surfaced last month when Grayson City Council designated Super 8 Lane as a city street after being told it was needed to help bring the giant retailer to the community.

    The street connects North Carol Malone Boulevard with Rupert Lane. It would be used for heavy trucks to access a new Walmart store reportedly to be built on Interstate Drive east of the new Our Lady of Bellefonte Hospital clinic.

    Owners of the property taken as Super 8 Lane have threatened legal action if they are not compensated for the land.

    Not surprisingly, Walmart spokesperson Daniel Morales said late Tuesday afternoon that the company had nothing to announce concerning Grayson at the present time.

    Walmart is known for making store location announcements on its own timetable.

    Discussion at the Chamber meeting centered on what local merchants and civic organizations can do to protect locally-owned businesses when Walmart comes into a community.

    One person said the company is known for paying minimum wages and offering no benefits. However, Walmart’s corporate website says its average wage in Kentucky is nearly $12 hourly.

    Walmart’s legal name is Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., but it operates under the shorter name for convenience.

    At the end of 2011, Walmart reported worldwide sales of approximately $444 billion with 2.2 million employees in 27 countries.

    It has more than 2,700 stores in the U.S. with 102 outlets in Kentucky, including 76 supercenters, eight discount stores, seven neighborhood markets, nine Sam’s Clubs and two distribution centers.

    The average size of a Walmart supercenter is 185,000 square feet with 142,000 items of merchandise and about 500 employees.

    Keith Kappes can be reached at kkappes@journal-times.com or by telephone at 1-800-247-6142.

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