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Unformatted text preview: City. Employment was roughly the same; the clerks in the old stores downtown were replaced by the new ones at Bargain City. The company made no substantial investment in the community, other than its land and building. In fact, it would not even allow its money to sit in local banks. At midnight, every night, the day's receipts were wired to the home office in Gainesville, Florida. The study concluded that expansion was obviously wise for the shareholders of Bargain City, but it was economically devastating for most small towns. And the real damage was cultural. With boarded-up stores and empty sidewalks, the rich town life of main streets and courthouse squares was quickly dying. A petition in support of Bargain City had 480 names. Our petition in opposition had 12. The council voted unanimously, 5-0, to approve it. I wrote a harsh editorial and for a month read nasty letters addressed to me. For the first time, I was called a "tree-hugger." Within a month, the bulldozers had completely razed fifty acres. The curbs and gutters were in, and a grand opening was announced for December 1, just in time for Christmas. With money committed, Bargain City wasted no time in building its warehouse. The company had a reputation for shrewd and decisive management. The store and its parking lot covered about twenty acres. The outparcels were quickly sold to other chains, and before long the city had approved a sixteen-pump self-serve gas station, a convenience store, three fast-food restaurants, a discount shoe store, a discount furniture store, and a large grocery store. I could not deny advertising to Bargain City. I didn't need their money, but since theTimes was the only countywide paper, they had to advertise in it. (In response to a zoning flap I stirred up in 1977, a small right-wing rag called theClanton Chronicle was up and running but struggling mightily.) In mid-November, I met with a representative of the company and we laid out a series of rather expensive ads fo...
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- Spring '10