• 57°

Hurting retailers isn’t development

Dear Editor,

I am one of a number of local businessmen that are concernedabout the courting of a big box retailer like Home Depot toBrookhaven. More concerning is the real impact on local businessowners being put in direct competition with such a mammoth likeHome Depot without the competitive advantages it has. Will HomeDepot truly create net new

jobs? Will they offer products and services that we cannotreadily get today? I am fully supportive of strong economicdevelopment for our community. However, I do not believe puttingseveral well established cornerstone local businesses in the crosshairs of Home Depot is real economic development. Home Depot servesits purpose in large sub-urban and metropolitan markets. Generally,these are developing communities that are a result of populationgrowth or city expansions.

As for home hardware products, we already have local competitionserving the needs of our consumers at fair market prices.Furthermore, why would the city be willing to take on new debt andgive up certain tax revenues it currently collects to pay it back?When we buy goods and services from the existing home hardwarestores the city benefits.

When you shift that spending from existing stores and spend itat Home Depot, the cities benefit will go toward paying back debt.As I understand, this debt would be repaid over some 10 to 15years. Home Depot earns net profits of approximately $500,000 perhour; you would think they could afford the $850,000 ininfrastructure cost they are asking the city to pay for. They couldretire the entire debt in a 1

hour and 45 minutes.

I am very skeptical that we will see a massive influx ofadditional purchasing of home hardware products just because ofHome Depot. What I do see is current spending being shifted to HomeDepot and local businesses being shutdown. Sure Home Depot isgreat. I have shopped there numerous times. Drive 50 miles andvisit one. Or go 20 miles to McComb and visit Lowe’s. If Home Depotwants to come to Brookhaven, that’s great let them come. But let’snot assist them economically just to give them an even biggeradvantage over our local retailers. I believe we can find betteropportunities for economic development without the economic risk tosome of our local merchants.

P. Brooks Warren