The rumors were persistent, probably a sign that the deal was already done behind closed doors. Wal-Mart is coming to Saranac Lake and it’s going to be a big Supercenter: 121,000 square feet. “The Wal-Mart Supercenter would be considerably larger than the building Ames used to occupy – larger even than the entire plaza in which the building sits,” reports the Plattsburgh Press Republican:
In a news release, Philip Serghini, the retail giant’s public affairs manager, said, “Wal-Mart very much wants to become part of the Saranac Lake community so that consumers in the area can benefit from everyday low prices.
“We hope to design a store that is in keeping with this unique community.”
Whether Saranac Lake is as eager for Wal-Mart to join the community depends on who you ask.
Some cheered the news Wednesday evening, saying the arrival of Wal-Mart would finally bring to Saranac the kind of low-cost retail store it has been without for too long.
Others fretted, saying it could cripple local businesses and, in doing so, ruin the character of the community.
Saranac Lake and Lake Placid have both fended off Wal-Mart in the past. The nearest Wal-Mart stores are in Plattsburgh and Ticonderoga.
There will be a fight:
Mayor Tom Catillaz learned of Wal-Mart’s announcement from a reporter [a-hem... sure he did]. He, too, balked at the size.
“I really need to wait to see what their plans are,” he said. “Hopefully they’ve got plans for a smaller store.”
Mark Kurtz, whose Sound Adirondack Growth Alliance has kept a close eye on the issue, said the organization would have to learn more about the proposal before issuing a strong opinion.
Oddly enough, Carcuzzi car-repair co-owner Bob Bevilacqua (an owner of land that Wal-Mart is looking at) actually believes that “having a Supercenter here will keep tax dollars in the community.”
Who exactly is he kidding, beside himself? Apparently he’s done NO research on the costs of these Supercenters – goodbye local business, hello low wage jobs supplied with benefits from county services, hello New Jersey like development, goodbye tourism.
Good luck Saranac Lake – some resources are here.
UPDATE: An anonymous reader points us to a new blog: Adirondack Wal-Mart. A recent excerpt:
Does Saranac Lake need a large retailer? Sure it does. Do we need 121,000 sq ft of stuff for sale? Well it seems that could be a point of compromise. Would a downtown location for a retailer be a better option? Certainly a question deserving of an answer. Can the people of Saranac Lake, it’s towns and counties work together to find the answers? One would hope so.