Activists in Charlevoix Michigan, a tiny town of just over three thousand residents near Traverse City, are working to stop a proposed Wal-Mart Supercenter. They allege the store will wreak havoc on local businesses, arguing the location of three Wal-Marts within close proximity will result in a near-monopoly situation.

“CHARLEVOIX, Mich. (AP) — Opponents of a planned Wal-Mart Supercenter are awaiting a pep talk from a nationally known crusader against the world’s largest retailer.

Al Norman is scheduled to speak Thursday evening at a forum sponsored by This Is Our Town, a grassroots group opposing Wal-Mart Stores Inc.’s efforts to expand into Charlevoix County’s Charlevoix Township. …

“The free marketplace is predicated on a diverse number of players of relatively equal strength,” Norman told the Traverse City Record-Eagle for a Sunday story. “When you get to a situation where one player predominates, you get close to a monopoly. Wal-Mart is the end of competition in a local area, not the beginning.” …

Norman said he led a successful 1993 campaign to keep Wal-Mart out of his hometown of Greenfield, Mass. Since then, he said, more than 215 communities have successfully opposed Wal-Mart and other big-box retailers.

Wal-Mart already has stores in Petoskey, Gaylord and Traverse City — all within 50 miles of Charlevoix — and the proposed Supercenter in Charlevoix indicates the retailer is “just trying to saturate the area, said Norman, who has written two books on Wal-Mart’s negative effects on communities. … “

> AP: “Wal-Mart opponent to speak in northern Michigan resort town”
> Traverse City Record-Eagle: “Crusade against Wal-Mart”
> The activists have contacted an organization which calls themselves the “Sprawl Busters”

I’d encourage U-M students from the area who oppose sprawl to write a quick letter to the Traverse City Record-Eagle from this page on their website.

Author: Rob