Running Away Small Businesses?

The world’s largest retailer is eyeing property in Wakulla County. Wal-Mart wants to build a supercenter off Highway 319 north of Crawfordville, but many small businesses aren't thrilled with the idea.

At Wakulla Sporting Goods in Crawfordville people can find a kaleidoscope of gear at half the price, but this bargain merchandise may disappear if a retailer known as the big bad wolf to small businesses, moves to town.

“It's gonna hurt our sporting goods, it's gonna wipe it out. Wal-Mart carries everything we carry and they can buy it cheaper than we can buy it,” says Billy Porter, owner of Wakulla Sporting Goods.

A common problem for mom and popshops near many Wal-Mart stores, but some say competition is good.

“I'd hate to see small businesses go out of business but I think it will be good for the area,” says Marshall Griffiss, a Wakulla County Resident:

“The only competition I really see is with Winn Dixie, the food, but I like it,” says Becky Shuler, also a Wakulla County Resident

As do hundreds of folks living in the rural county who say a new Wal-Mart would boost the economy, adding some 350 new jobs. Combine job growth with convenience and officials say a supercenter will do super things for Wakulla County.

Wal-Mart still has to obtain a community development block grant for its project which county commissioners support. The retail giant hopes to be up and running in Wakulla County within a year.