Independent Stores Find Ways to Compete With Big Boxes
Gloversville, NY – Since it was created in the 1960s, the Route 30A arterial passing through Gloversville and Johnstown has been a double-edged sword for the local retail economy. Most say it has cut in a positive direction, generating jobs and sales tax revenue for the area, and this week’s opening of the new Walmart Supercenter was a major milestone in local development.
Local business people interviewed this month mostly welcomed the new, larger Walmart, though many acknowledged the disadvantages of corporate “big-box” development: that national chain stores’ profits don’t all stay in the local economy, that their sprawling beige buildings and big parking lots detract from the communities’ distinctive character, and that they compete with small, locally owned stores in venerable downtown shopping districts.
Local leaders say the Glove Cities need to strike the right balance between the arterial and the downtowns, allowing the growth of the former while promoting, preserving and celebrating the latter.