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Special Note: Wal-Mart and the Future of Rural West Kentucky
Resistance is futile? Not for Star Trek heroes and not for retailer going up against Earth's largest retailer.

By Ivan Potter
West Kentucky Journal
Clinton, KY. Jan. 23, 2013

I love the study of geo-politics and geography of central place theory. One deals with the give and take of political power. The other one deals with the give and take of consumer markets. Together this makes up my world.

However, over the past three years I began adding one additional area of study and research: the give and take of climate change and extreme weather.
Two reports out this past week made me stop and look at the place I call home against the three areas of my research loves.

The first report said we will now refer to ourselves and where we live as Frontier and Remote.

The second report showed the growth of mega regions and mega cities for 2050. St Louis and Louisville were identified as the southernmost points for the expanded Great Lakes Urban Mega Region.

So, in my way of thinking this would be an excellent time to take a look at the (Star Trek reference here) Borg of Retail, Wal-Mart, and what it is doing to our little part of the universe.

I sense that there are deep cracks forming inside the mighty empire of cheap imported goods and products. Wal-Mart is a retail creature chained by its association with the almost slave labor of Asia and the marketing strategies of vast shipping of containers crossing the Pacific well away from any American manufacturing plant.

The future is breathing down on Wal-Mart. New young customers are no longer excited by anything in the Wal-Mart world. Even the electronics inside the stores are looking out of date with the latest fads and market surges.
However, in my world and that of West Kentucky, we all are lashed onto the back of Wal-Mart in Kentucky. State and local government have issued bonds for their stores. We allowed them to crush small businesses in the name of progress.

Our elected leaders allowed Wal-Mart to become our face for retail trade and community development. Now that mistake is catching up with West Kentucky.

We are entering a new age of awareness for economic opportunities of retail change within many of our small towns’ central business districts.  The question that needs to be asked is “Are we ready and up for this chance to create a new West Kentucky?”

The following stories are offered to give West Kentucky some new insights into what is challenging one of the region’s largest economic and political players.


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