H. Scott Seal


H. Scott Seal is the managing editor of the Portageville Missourian-News and has over 30 years of newspapering experience.


On Wal-Mart

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

For many folks, Walmart has been called a "necessary evil". Likes it or not, many folks including yours truly has shopped and may continue to shop there.

Many of you know by now that Walmart is closing two stores in southeast Missouri, Caruthersville and Piedmont. While I had worked in Caruthersville in the early 1990's, I have spent time and money there. While living and working in Piedmont, I too, spent time and money there. I was also there when the store opened. I even got to meet the original owner, Sam Walton. He seemed like a very down to earth kind of guy.

I would imagine that Caruthersville like Piedmont, freaked out when they heard Walmart was coming to down.

As an advertising sales consultant, I heard from many folks on how it will kill the little town. Eventually, I witnessed a drug store, a hardware store, a furniture store close up. Yes that did put a dampener in the spirits of folk in the little town, but in reality, Walmart had nothing to do with it. The individual store owners were tired, well into retirement age, and sought the opportunity to close down. Maybe their timing was off, or was it.

One would think what when you see a big mart coming into town, the local merchants would really push their store's image, product and staff. No, most local stores do not have the ability to buy in large volumes as the big marts do. Instead, the local stores has what Walmart will never have, local ownership by local people. Your grow up with these folks and you know what kind of personal and friendly service you are going to get. In fact, many of the local merchants can and do special order items for you. All you have to do is ask! Many will be glad to work with you, and if they cannot, they admit it.

I do not see this at Walmart. For the most, you see several part-time employees that work for the check, and that is it.

With the Caruthersville store closing at the first of next year, now is the time for area-wide merchants to begin sharping up their marketing skills and seek out ways to increase new customers from the out lying areas.

Folks in the Missouri Bootheel that depend on shopping at Walmart can do so in Kennett, Sikeston, Dyersburg, or Blytheville. At least, the roads are flat and you can drive them a 60-70 mph.

The Piedmont Walmart had the appearance of upgrading their location, expanding it to a Supercenter.

That store thrived in the summer time with tourism dollars with boaters, campers, fisherman and hunters, on there way to Clearwater Lake or Sam A. Baker State Park.

It was also in a position to serve folks from three different counties, Wayne, Reynolds and Iron Counties. For the City of Piedmont, the closest Walmart is in Poplar Bluff, 42 miles, and the next closest is in Fredericktown, 50 miles away. If you are familiar with Wayne County, there are no flat roads, you drive on hills and curves, and your drive 30-55 mph. Unless you are in a Mini Cooper, who cares, just motor on and enjoy.

Now, what Walmart did can be scarey. This should be a wake up call to area-wide merchants to work a little smarter and not harder with your stores hot items.

There is an old saying, "He who has a thing to sell, and whispers it in a well, will not do so well, as he who climbs the tree and hollers!"

With using local services at your local newspaper, we can help you see how we can reach those out of the box customers, with the use of the website and placing your advertising is our sisters newspapers, like the Caruthersville Democrat-Argus, the Sikeston Standard-Democrat, the Kennett Dunklin Democrat, the Malden Delta News-Citizens, just to name a few.

We can lend you a limb to holler on!