The Wal-Mart Corporation has built Arizona's largest Supercenter right here in Payson. The giant retail store is open 24-hours a day and features a grocery store, garden center, hair salon, vision center and bank. The massive facility is designed to provide one-stop shopping convenience.
It is no secret that I am not a fan of such mega-stores. However, I want to offer a fair opinion of the Supercenter. I appreciate the many contributions the Wal-Mart corporation makes to our schools, non-profit groups and citizens in need. I also compliment the company for staying true to its agreement with the town. The color schemes, trees and roadwork are attractive and in compliance.
The local Supercenter Manager Becky Martinez and her crew did a wonderful job preparing the new store and welcoming the more than 6,000 customers who shopped during the grand opening Saturday.
It was a monumental job well done.
But like it or not, the Supercenter will have a measurable effect on the character of our little town. The implications of such a store being open 24-hours a day will change shopping habits and impact the destiny of our smaller hometown businesses. The center will be convenient, but make no mistake, it also will dictate, dominate and frustrate the selection of new businesses that choose to come to Payson.
Super stores are a bold business strategy, and we live in a country where free enterprise is part of the game. But as we stand in the shadow of this retail giant, I believe it's important to make a conscious decision not to allow our shopping habits to be changed so much that we forget to spread our spending dollars around. We have scores of local businesses who can and will compete to provide the products and services we want. Many of them have served us faithfully for years and weathered countless storms to stay rooted in the Rim country.
It's worth planning more than one stop to shop.
Richard Haddad, publisher