How much community did WalMart bring?

The coming of WalMarts took away or weakened various downtown communities, but it turns out that when Walmart leaves a region there are some similar kinds of effects:

Economic losses are only one aspect of the hurt felt locally as a result of Walmart’s passing. There is something intangible, less material – and more chilling – about the fallout, something that seems to flow from the dependency the people of McDowell County developed on the retail magic conjured up inside that big box…For Dan Phillips, Walmart was a way of coping with bereavement after his wife died a few years ago. ‘If you were lonely and had nothing to do, you’d go to Walmart to talk to folk. It was a great social network.’ Being a schoolteacher, Phillips has a theory for what happened when the store closed. ‘Socialization. We lost our socialization factor. Now it’s hard to keep track of people, there’s no other place like it where you can stand and chat.’

Here is the full story, via the excellent Kevin Lewis.


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