Shrewsbury won't be the first community where Wal-Mart has proved controversial. The retailer's efforts to expand into a new town are often met with resistance, and there have been many allegations related to how it treats employees.
The company has upwards of 9,000 locations in 15 countries, and it employs more than 2 million people, according to its corporate website.
Studies and news stories reveal a complex image of the nation's largest company. Patch gathered a fraction of this information together so you can better understand what the store's effects might be on Shrewsbury if the redevelopment of Kenrick Plaza moves ahead.
- Wal-Mart's Social and Economic Impact is a four-part series NPR put together to examine the influence of the largest U.S. employer.
- Wal-Mart: Impact of a Retail Giant is another multipart look at the retailer by PBS.
Many studies have looked at the impact Wal-Mart's stores have on a local community. Here are a few examples, but many more can be found online.
- An Iowa State University study looks at the impact Wal-Mart stores have had on rural Iowa communities.
- Another study comes to different conclusions. It looks at the belief that Wal-Mart stores hurt "Mom and Pop" establishments in small towns.
- This study, from Loyola University in Chicago, also looks at the impact on local businesses, but from an urban standpoint.
- Another study looks at the impact Wal-Marts have on "social capital." This is an idea that community networks and activities have a value, though there is no hard definition for the term.
- The Fedgazette, a publication that follows the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, summarizes the mixed nature of research about this controversial company.
Interest groups have started across the county to oppose Wal-Mart and other large retailers:
- New Rules Project is dedicated to creating new rules and public policy for communities so they can be more self-sufficient.
- Walmart Watch's website states it "seeks to hold Walmart fully accountable for its impact on communities, ... and the nation’s economy."
Other groups support Wal-Mart:
- Americans for Walmart pitches itself as a group that is independant from the company and one that supports economic freedom.
- AlwaysLowPrices.net, while active, was seen as a pro-Wal-Mart website. The blog is no longer at the domain name, but its posts have been archived.
Related Patch Coverage:
Plans and other documents can be found on the city's website.