If Wal-Mart comes to Juneau - which I doubt, if Juneau again refuses to give them the tax breaks they demand - I will not shop there, for all the reasons for which other writers have damned them.
However, I see the Home Depot situation differently. At least in my case, no local business will be losing my money, since they don't get it now. I renovated two bathrooms this summer and bought all the fixtures from the Seattle stores or online. The reason is not so much money as selection. I'm perplexed at the limited amount of products available locally. Even with several stores to chose from, they all carry the same few, out-of-style items. I accept the higher cost of doing business in Juneau, but to pay those high prices for some faucet that hasn't been fashionable in a decade is ridiculous. I know, I know, they'll be happy to order anything you want, but why should I pay custom prices when I can order an off-the-shelf Kohler faucet for half the cost myself?
While searching for my first home three years ago, I noticed how every house had the same tile, carpet, and fixtures. I swore I wasn't going to have that problem for my investment. I'm sure local businesses have their reasoning for why they don't stock a large variety of products, but I know Home Depot does carry the items I want. If Home Depot comes to Juneau, I'll be spending thousands of dollars there and hiring local contractors for installation. Without the hassle of ordering, then waiting weeks, and maybe not being happy with the products, I bet we'll all be doing more work on our homes when we can make impulse purchases.
I'll continue to use the local stores for what I do now: all those necessary screws and saw blades. I share the concern about keeping local business vital, but it's a new century. This isn't the late 1960s, when we all wore the same ugly clothes from the catalogs and were blissfully ignorant with no cable TV and Internet to tell us any different. Perhaps the businesses that were going to close when Joann's opened, or when Safeway and Costco opened, can give testimony about the effect of big box stores on their sales.
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