Editor, Daily Press:

If Walmart is allowed to remain in our community, the future of Tahlequah is uncertain at best. Within two years of Walmart stores opening in the struggling west side of Chicago, over 82 local stores went out of business, according to a landmark study done by Loyola University. Likewise, here in our hometown, instead of growing our retail economy, Walmart just simply overtook it, shuttering multiple businesses.

Walmart doesn't bring new jobs; it brings unemployment and poverty. In 2008, the Journal of Urban Economics published a study that examined about 3,000 Walmart store openings nationally and found that each store caused a net decline of about 150 jobs. Another study done by Puget Sound Sage stated each new Walmart store decreases the local community's economic output over 20 years by an estimated $13 million. The research discovered also that each Walmart store costs the community an additional $14 million in lost wages over the 20 years.

We must start shopping local. For our prescriptions, we need to start shopping at our local pharmacies. For our plants, we must start shopping at our local nurseries. For our gasoline, we need to start shopping from local gas stations. And for our tools, auto parts, and everything else, we must start shopping at our locally owned businesses to save our communities. Walmart destroys towns, and if we allow it to do so, it will completely destroy our city and every business in it.

Somehow, during the "shutdown," every other business was required to close except, of course, Walmart, which was allowed to remain open. This left hundreds of thousands of "privately owned" American businesses in debt, with no way to make ends meet. If we allow Walmart to continue unimpeded, it will not stop until all businesses are closed, and they are all that remains.

We all must take an extra effort to start shopping at our local businesses. We need to start rebuilding our communities before Walmart completely destroys them.

Jace Bryant

Tahlequah

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