She had lived a lonely life and left no close friends

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Unformatted text preview: we began sprawling, there would be no end to it. The town would spread in a dozen directions, each one siphoning off its own little slice of old Clanton. Most of the jobs they were promising would be at minimum wage. The increase in sales tax revenues to the city would be at the expense of the merchants Bargain City would quickly drive out of business. The people of Ford County were not going to wake up one day and suddenly start buying more bicycles and refrigerators simply because Bargain City had such dazzling displays. I mentioned the town of Titus, about an hour south of Clanton. Two years earlier, Bargain City opened there. Since then, fourteen retail stores and one cafe had closed. Main Street was almost deserted. I mentioned the town of Marshall, over in the Delta. In the three years since Bargain City opened, the mom-and-pop merchants of Marshall had closed two pharmacies, two small department stores, the feed store, the hardware store, a ladies' boutique, a gift shop, a small bookstore, and two cafes. I'd had lunch in the remaining cafe and the waitress, who'd worked there for thirty years, told me their business was less than half of what it used to be. The square in Marshall was similar to Clan-ton's, except that most of the parking spaces were empty. There were very few folks walking the sidewalks. I mentioned the town of Tackerville, with the same population as Clanton. One year after Bargain City opened there, the town was forced to spend $1.2 million on road improvements to handle the traffic around the development. I handed the Mayor and councilmen copies of a study by an economics professor at the University of Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter, Georgia. He had tracked Bargain City across the South for the previous six years and evaluated the financial and social impact the company had on towns of less than ten thousand. Sales tax revenues remained roughly the same; the sales were simply shifted from the old merchants to Bargain...
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