Shortsightedness on the behalf of the East Marlborough board of supervisors may leave the township with a big, ugly empty store, while the residents of London Grove Township may reap the benefits of those decisions.Or will they?

When Wal-Mart vacated a store in Elkton, Md., for one a few miles away and just over the state line in Delaware several years ago, they left behind a 4, 700-square foot building that still remains empty to this day.

The same is likely to happen to the Wal-Mart located on Route 1. 1

Wal-Mart's rumored move from one township to another has some folks gnashing their teeth over the treatment Wal-Mart originally got when they took up residence in East Marlborough several years ago.

When the mega-corporation took their plans to the township, many of their provisions were denied, denied, denied. They had to modify their roof, adopt a peculiar traffic pattern that has even regular users confused, and were not allowed to build a super store that is open 24 hours and carried groceries and automotive support services.

Now, years later, the construction boom is headed west and the commercial projects are following suit. Even with residents in West Marlborough and Franklin Townships fighting sprawl, new sites like the Shops at London Grove continue to pop up.

And this isn't necessarily a bad thing for the residents of those townships. The locality means that there will be no more driving long distances for essential needs with a Wal-Mart and a Lowes right around the corner. Also, new commercial sites keep the residents' taxes lower while typically adding to the overall marketability of homes for sale.

The move can be seen as double-edged sword. On one hand, Wal-Mart perpetuates its reputation as an uncaring giant who moves in, dries up all of the local businesses and then moves on, leaving a devastated community in its wake.

On the other hand, had the corporation been able to build its store to suit in the first place, one can speculate that the store would remain where it is while also considering the London Grove location as well, a win/win situation that would not leave an empty location in East Marlborough.

The new stores are popping up in expanding communities where residents with new homes would welcome a box store like Lowes or Wal-Mart. In fact, Lowes has already received a tremendous response from the local residents who crowd its aisles in search of bargains for the spring season.

That is not to say that we don't appreciate the small mom and pops like Pyles Home and Supply that helped to build the local economy and add to the charm and beauty of our communities. But we feel that the mega stores, with the 88 cents for 10 deals, can work well together with the smaller stores, provided both operate with the consumers best interests in mind.

Guest Editorial by Wm. Shawn Weigel

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