Independent Voices |

Independent Voices

I think big box stores would have a great effect on our community. It would mean more choices of places to go shopping, yet we would still have the smaller “mom and pop” shops to go to whenever we wanted. We would have the best of both worlds. Also, I think that these stores would create more jobs for our community.

With a new big box, Glenwood reaches the critical mass necessary to cement our position as the most desirable, four-season center of mercantile and recreational activity in Western Colorado. A revitalized downtown will accelerate its conversion from marginal storefronts to stimulating cultural and thriving special interest retailers. We have the planning in place to accommodate it without compromising the aesthetics of our surroundings.

Geographically, Glenwood is a natural economic locus for the area. Add our highway access, recreational infrastructure (new Glenwood Caverns, potential kayak water park, etc.) and you have a formula for major economic rebirth.

The big-box-store issue is not one of growth, but rather of services.

As we, the residents, continue to demand more services, we are in reality demanding growth. Whether it be a community pool, south-end bridge, better streets, more sports fields or even better Internet access, our desires can only be met with additional tax revenues. Current revenues continue current services. A big box is the only efficient way to generate new tax revenues. If we don’t want big box, we must be willing to get along without the new services.

The super Wal-Mart could make Rifle a one-company town, obliterating current mom and pop shops all the way to Meeker and Parachute. Yet, Wal-Mart will draw new shoppers, more big boxes, and much-needed sales-tax revenue. One way merchants could compete is to have a gimmick, a niche, a wide selection of specialty retail not found elsewhere. For instance, Rifle could become the capital of second hand stores, or Western theme boutiques, or of hand-made firearms, or pottery studios.

Ingenuity will be the key to retail survival.

Big-box stores change communities over a wide radius. Glenwood residents drive to Grand Junction to Sam’s Club or Home Depot or Target. People spend their dollars where they perceive they get the most value. We have a shaky economy.

The question of what effect a new big-box store would have depends somewhat on the type of store and the community. But whatever the type, people will drive to it, creating traffic problems, and the big box will require large parking lots, leading to runoff wastewater problems, and appearance problems.

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