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Letters: Walmart in Oriental
Unwelcome Welcome?
September 24, 2013

As reported on TownDock.net on Thursday August 22, Town Hall sent an email to Town Commissioners that day saying that the “Town of Oriental will be welcoming a Wal Mart Express” store.

The email went on to say that the store — a smaller version and new business plan of the giant retailer — would be just outside the Town limits.

The prospect of Walmart coming to Oriental has prompted several reactions. Initially, some receive the words “Walmart in Oriental” as if it were a punchline to a joke. Some say it will mean lower prices. Others, though, say it will be like a punch to the Mom and Pop businesses here, and ask what can be done to keep WalMart from coming to town. Here are the letters received so far.

The following is a shorter version of the Dr. Seussian riff (and reference to Walmart founder Sam Walton) that the writer says she sent to Chris Fulcher, appealing to him not to sell his land to Walmart. Fulcher currently owns the land on which the Walmart Express could be built just outside of Oriental.


By Lili Stern, Oriental, NC
(inspired by Dr. Seuss, Green Eggs & Ham)

I am NOT Sam
That Sam’s a Sham
I do not like that Sam – No ma’am!

Do you like
Sweatshops and Spam?
I do not like that, Sam – No ma’am!

I do not like
Eggs with salmonella
I do not like them,
Sam’s not my fella.

Would you eat them
in your house?
Would you serve them
to your spouse?

I do not like recalled eggs or ham.
I would not buy them, it’s a sham.
I would not buy them
from Sam’s big box
I would not put them
in my kid’s lunchbox.

Not in my house.
Not for my spouse.
I would not want them here or there.
I would not want them anywhere.

Would you? Could you?
fill up your car?
With gas from Sam?
Why that’s bizarre!
I would not,
could not,
when Ruth’s not far.

I do not like Sam’s part-time work.
I do not like to see him shirk
All of the workers he employs
With rock bottom wages and other ploys

I do not like Sam here OR there.
I do not like Sam anywhere.

Our town?? OUR town?
Oriental! OUR TOWN!
Not in our town! Not Town-n-Country!
Not Village Hardware! Sam! Let us be!

I would not, could not, shop at Sam’s “Express”.
I could not, would not, even if it costs WAY less.
I will not support Sam here or there.
I will not support Sam anywhere.

Say, Mr. Fulcher!
How ‘bout a park?
Wouldn’t that be a lark?
Would you, could you, think of a park?

If you would not, could not,
we’re lost in the dark.
Oh would you, could you,
Be that spark?

The boys and girls would all see your name.
Not on a parking lot. (That’d be a shame)
But on a beautiful tree.
It’d outlive ol’ Sam, just wait and see.

A tree’s not a house. It’s not a big box.
It won’t hurt a mouse and no need for detox.
Don’t you like trees either here or there?
I do like them anywhere!

You do not like
salmonella eggs and spam
So why not
tell them to “Scram!”?
Say “I am NOT Sam!”

Would you, could you,
please tell Sam?
We could not, WOULD not, in OUR town.
We WILL not, will NOT, let our kids down.

But how ‘bout a park? How ‘bout a tree?
Sam go home! Just let us be!
We’ll be just fine.
You will see.

At Village Hardware I’ll shop for my boat!
To Denton’s I’ll go for my sore throat…
For Ruth, I’d hike 2 miles in the rain.
And over a river. And with a cane.

So Chris, how ‘bout that tree?
They are so good, so good, you see!

I do so like green trees, yes ma’am!
So Mr. Chris, when you talk to Sam,
Please tell him,
“Thanks an awful lot,
But truth be told, Sam-I-am NOT.”

Lili Stern

To the Editor:

I am a part-time resident of Oriental and have not taken a side regarding the Wal-Mart issue.

I have read the letters on your website. In several instances writers have been upset that the Town Board and/or County Commissioners have not spoken up in regards to the people’s wishes not to have Wal-Mart come Oriental/Pamlico County.

However, I have not seen any numbers showing that the majority of people have such a wish. Has a poll been taken that I have somehow missed?

I live in Ayden, NC. A Wal-Mart Express came to our town a couple of years ago. The people I have spoken to have had no problem as a result of their being in Ayden.

I haven’t supported them because I am satisfied with the local business I have dealt with for many years. If there are people that prefer to do business with Wal-Mart then I have no problem with that either.

Carolyn Howell

Towndock Editor
Re: Wal-Mart Proposal

As I mentioned in my earlier “Letter to the Editor” I am totally perplexed with the proposal of Wal-Mart opening an express location in Oriental.

Additionally in your recent story on the subject, it is mentioned that as part of the Company’s plans, they intend to open a larger store in Grantsboro. This is clearly an attempt to totally dominate the County of Pamlico from a retail sales perspective. This will destroy the “Mom and Pop” establishments in short order.

The question becomes, “Where are the Town Boards and the County Commission?” I haven’t seen any official comments from any of these entities in TownDock’s reporting. Can they actually be in favor of the plans of this monstrous corporation that clearly wishes and thinks it can come to the County like an invading army and destroy the local business community?

There should be a loud & thunderous response from the County Commission and Town Board supporting the people’s wishes and, more relevant, the businesses that have supported the local communities through thick and thin of the recent and ongoing economic downturn, the slow recovery and other economic challenges of the past.

If this response does not come and/or is a milquetoast response, it’s time the citizens of the county rise up and show the elected officials who really controls the County. It’s the aforementioned citizens, not the officials who rely on the County’s population for votes to continue in their privileged positions.

Ben Giacchino
Past and Future Resident of Oriental
Dawsonville GA

Publisher’s note: TownDock has sent out a set of three questions regarding Walmart to the members of Oriental’s Town Board and to the candidates running for the Town Board (and Mayor’s seat) in the November election. The answers to those questions may be read here.

Dear Editor,

Please accept this letter as my support for WalMart and any other business wanting to locate in Pamlico County and particularly, in or near Oriental.

As a property owner & resident of downtown Oriental, I welcome the addition and jobs to the neighborhood. I find this a great resource for the people of Oriental and the surrounding community.

The local grocery can be an abysmal experience with substandard products, overly high prices and half working freezers/refrigerators. The cashiers are generally unfriendly in my experience and the entire visit can be frustrating especially if you need to make a fuel purchase. Some real competition might encourage them to clean up the act and offer a more valuable shopping experience to customers.

The fear, I gather, is Walmart will close the local grocery?

By your logic, Towndock should not be allowed to exist in Pamlico county due its negative impact on Oriental’s own printed paper, The Pamlico News. TownDock publishes ads and updates 24 hours a day rather than the once weekly edition from the Pamlico News.

It is sad to read a website focused on promoting fear, anger and mob mentality against law abiding companies and citizens who are breaking no law or ordinance by existing.

WalMart, a couple of Frenchmen in the river, the TownDock website or 58 citizens may decide who gets to survive and exist and which do not. In any case, I believe Oriental will look much the same in 10 years.

TownDock should work to attract people and business to our area, not repel them. You should ask yourself before publishing: Is this fair and objective? Am I carrying water for one side of the cause unfairly?

This website was once a nice depot for local information and simple stories. Now, it regularly begs to drum up protests and letter writing campaigns to validate the opinions of the writer. You portray a town in constant battle with the future.

You have an absolute right to publish your opinions but, you shouldn’t pass them off as news and information.

Respectfully signed,
Joseph Kershner

To the Editor:

Like several of my fellow “to the Editor” writers, I rarely get involved or even speak out regarding such issues as the proposed Walmart coming to Oriental. I tend to leave these things to our elected officials or rely on the judgment of those who can make a difference.

That said, it seems the majority of those against this business coming to town are “mad” with Wal Mart for even thinking they should or could, become part of our community. All for reasons that may or may not be valid. However, we do live in a free enterprise market and if requirements are met, I assume they have the right to become our neighbor.

It occurs to me that rather than continuing to condemn them for their efforts, we should focus on those individuals who presently own the land Wal Mart is considering. As I understand it, they have been our neighbors for many years and seem to have clout around this community. Why isn’t there some plea to them not to sell the designated site?

We probably have little pull with Walmart itself, but perhaps more with our neighbor and current property owner. They should want what’s best for the community as well. If I have missed this plea, I apologize but haven’t heard anyone say the present owner has any indication of not selling to Walmart.

That said, I tend to fall “somewhere in the middle” I guess but agree with Mr. Jorgensen, let’s focus on what can be done and start with a “no sale,” and do everything we can to make existing businesses better.

R. Scott Williams

To The Editor;

A wise old Indian said….“we did not inherit this earth from our ancestors, we are borrowing it from our children.”

I believe that some places on earth, like Oriental, need to be free from feeding the Walton family fortunes. I do not believe that they have the right to stampede into town, drive out local businesses, and change the nature of communities. Most everyone who lives here, whether they moved here or stayed here, did so because they value small town living.

At some point, people need to stand up and say “NO”. I urge those who value our lifestyles here to join your neighbors and do whatever it takes to get the message across that Oriental does not “welcome Walmart” as it was phrased in an initial press release from the Town.

We chose to and got to live in a small town without traffic, lit night skies, noise, increased crime and had locally owned business owners get us what we want in the grocery store, help us in the hardware store, take risks to open businesses here and generously support our community.

I want the same options available for my children and grandchildren. We are taking the kind of living we value from them.

We do not want a pretty Walmart, we want no Walmart.

Please take a stand, sign a petition, put up a yard sign, buy a t-shirt, contact Walmart, and contact those you elected to represent you.

Marlene Miller

(The letter writer sent a similar correspondence to Oriental’s Town Commissioenrs and to some members of the Pamlico COunty Commission.)

To The Editor:

Oriental has charm. More than a decade and a half ago my wife and I stayed at a B&B in Oriental for our anniversary. We really didn’t know that much about the area since we’d moved from Burlington, VT to the Research Triangle Park area a few years before. We’re originally from Roanoke, VA and have lived in VT, TX and NM, before moving back to RTP a few years ago.

Since our first visit to your town and before moving away from RTP, we visited your town numerous times. Sometimes by car, sometimes by our first sailboat. A couple years ago we moved back to RTP from Albuquerque and bought a second sailboat. We’ve been to your town three times by boat, most recently last weekend as a destination. That’s right, a destination! Anchoring out, taking our dinghy in, eating in your restaurants and drinking in your bars.

We return to your town again and again because it has charm. We don’t go there because it has homogenized into every other American city and town with the same fast foods, stores and other replicated, big corporate shopping “experiences” with sprawl down their roads. We visit your town because it does NOT have these things.

Remember back in the 1960s and 1970s, when urban shopping malls sucked the life out of many downtowns across the country, supposedly under the guise of “progress”? Large corporate entities care not one wit about your town and its citizens. They are beholding to their shareholders and Wall Street. They want to crush any competition. They want to be a monopoly.

Your town should focus on what it does best — continue to develop its charm. Focus on its fishing heritage, its history, its boating and sailing roots. If you let Walmart, or any other similar corporation in, you’ll die and Oriental will no longer be your town. It will be like any other strip developed city or town in America. And there will be no reason to visit.

Keep Oriental Free!

Craig Strautin
Morrisville, NC
New Bern (on our boat – only because it’s too far to drive to Oriental for weekend boating. Right now.)

To The Editor:

I was at Tuesday’s meeting with Town Board with a full agenda and put my name on list to speak, but did not when my name was called out. I wanted to sit and listen what Ruth, Ed, and others had to say about what they offer to Oriental, and what Walmart will do to them. Only if our local services throw in the towel.

Keep giving the great personal uncompromised service that you do, Ed, Ruth, Paul and the rest at the hardware store, and others – Walmart is not going to cause you to shut down. Residents of Oriental have that choice, but think about who it can help, the locals that still go out everyday and try to make a living, and need to save as much of their hard earned money as they can by being able to shop and save. Also a chance for a job in the County.

I still work in the trades with almost all locals and 99% want that chance to have a chance at making it and staying in Pamlico County and shopping where they can afford. Almost all go to New Bern or Jacksonville to shop Walmart or Lowes. Give others the choice.

If you want to help Oriental, get those 4 sailboats out of the Harbor. That’s whats hurting Oriental.

Walter Lane

To The Editor:

Obvious and easily to recognize what I would categorize as “micro sensationalism”; the letters published on The TownDock in regards to the Walmart Express proposed building sight on the outskirts of Oriental.

My humble opinion is that those opposed to it step back from their fear mongering tactics and accept the inevitable.

Rather than gather your little groups and committees to fight it, use this time to establish an intelligent and scheduled approach to the oncoming competition.

It’s not really a hard thing to do, it just takes a little effort.

I see the Walmart Express as a good thing to Oriental’s present business entities. As for grocery store competition, pharmacy etc, Walmart has no in store butcher, as well does not offer many of the medications of other local pharmacies. And I am quite certain they will not be selling hardware that would compete with any other local shops.

Mike Page

Dear TownDock.net:

After reading the 7:25p entry from 9/3/13, I guess I should not be surprised to learn that the Town Board of Oriental operates like most local boards across the state, choosing to ignore the concerns of the people.

On the agenda or not, when most of your speakers during the public comment portion of the meeting talk about the same thing, you as leaders should address those concerns in some manner. Indifference is the greatest of offenses in this case.

Bruce G. Minor
Jamestown/Mainsail Point

(The writer delivered a version of the following to the Oriental Town Board at its agenda meeting on August 28. She was asking that the Board pass a resolution against Walmart in Oriental.)

Time is of the essence.

Walmart plans to make a final decision within the next two weeks on the contract they have on the Three Seas Legacy, LLC (Chris and Debbie Fulcher ) land just outside of Oriental’s town limits in Pamlico County.

To say a Walmart Express/Neighborhood store would forever change the charm and small town vibe is a vast understatement. We are all money-conscious in these times, but at what price to our quality of life?

Town and Country Market has been there for all of us for many years. Dentons Pharmacy has brought us Oriental’s first pharmacy in decades. These folks are the fiber and strength of our everyday life.

We drove to Snow Hill to personally see a Walmart Express Store. They are different from the big superstores in a very distinctive way; they’re smaller and the associates are helpful and much more knowledgable of the merchandise than at the Superstore.

But then, there are the similarities to the bigger stores and supercenters. You are constantly met with signs saying lowest price guaranteed, we will not be undersold, coupons, WIC accepted, ATM and Western Union, a pharmacy offering $4.00 generics, even the soda machines outside carry the low price message and the Walmart name.

If you do your research, you will learn this is their basic business practice in both the super stores and their “ neighborhood” stores. These tactics destroy whatever small stores are in their path. Once they’ve put them out of business, Walmart’s won, again, and there is no going back.

Walmart is a worldwide corporate giant. If their corporate goals for profits are not met, they shutter the store and leave a failed location with nothing.

Are you willing to take this risk?

Please think this through, and take a stand with those in Oriental who recognize that the promise of low prices also promises the destruction of the small businesses that have made Oriental such a great place to live.

Barbara Stockton


Nobody dislikes Walmart more than I do.

However, they are a fact of life.

I would guess most of the local merchants have never given any thought about competition or worried about reducing costs or margins to provide their customers the best products at the best price. It seems to me more energy could be spent contacting suppliers and freight companies and negotiating better deals.

You will never undersell Walmart but you can out do them on customer service. It may be time to focus on what you can do to make your business more attractive and concentrate on a level of clientele that prefers buying from you, not your store.

Darrel Jorgensen
Black Mountain, NC

To The Editor:

Normally I’m pretty pro-business/pro-development – within reason, and where the population can support it.  There is almost always a way to balance the desire for privacy and nostalgia with respectful progress if level heads negotiate in good faith. 

But there is ample evidence that Wal-Mart doesn’t care a jot about whether we want them here or not.  The town of Oriental has no jurisdiction. (Ya think they planned it that way?).  And don’t count on the politicians to help; they want the tax money. 

Wal-Mart may throw a bone by claiming to make their normally sterile architecture ‘blend’ better -whatever that means. Or they may offer to pay for some road or sewer improvements or something… or not. 

But in the end they will do what is in their interests to do.  And it looks like they are motivated by some success with the Express business model.

That is where I am left scratching my head.  How did Wal-Mart’s crack international market research team crunch these numbers and come up with Oriental (unless their prime objective really is to crush local businesses for no good reason)?  Did they look at a map? 

There are only a little over 13,000 people in the entire county, distributed amongst about 5200 households.  And it’s not like these numbers are growing significantly.  It’s about 25 miles from Oriental to the Wal-Mart super-store in New Bern.  Oriental is at the end of the line.  Folks in the upper parts of the county will just as soon go to New Bern than Oriental. 

But if the Wal-Mart Express were in the Bayboro-Alliance-Grantsboro corridor, Wal-Mart could draw from all of Pamlico plus parts of Beaufort County.  Folks from Oriental who are so inclined would be delighted to go to the middle corridor to shop at the Express just to save an extra 15 miles travel.

Sadly, no matter where the Wal-Mart Express ends up in this county there will be local businesses wiped out as a result.  Wal-Mart’s history is littered with this destruction.  And once those businesses are consumed, Wal-Mart ‘consolidates,’ leaving whole communities without basic services.  Watch the movie on the 10th.

While we pull our hair and rend our clothes, the truth is that the turnover in this town is such that in a few years people will have forgotten the indignity of this transgression.  Soon enough Wal-Mart will be announcing that they will be closing the Oriental Express because the numbers just didn’t pan out (after all, these Express stores are just a ‘test’ anyway).  And in the hole they leave new small businesses will take root as long as there is good sailing and waterfront property to keep the people coming here.  The cycle of life?  Perhaps…  But sad none the less.

While I would like to see Wal-Mart reconsider, I do sincerely hope that however this turns out the people of Oriental will remain diligent but dignified.

Janet Chinea

(A letter sent by the writers to Walmart and shared in a Letter to the Editor.)

We do not want a Walmart in our little community of Oriental or within any proximity close to it.

We are a small town that supports our small local businesses, Denton Pharmacy, Town & Country grocery store, our local farmers, the farmer’s market & fisherman.

We moved here as it is a town where almost all know your name, and neighbors care about each other, including the proprietors of the businesses.

Ed Denton goes above & beyond caring for his customers, taking time to explain your medications and giving advice on how to help reduce your costs. Anyone who has met Ed can see what a caring person he is.

The owner of Town & Country also goes out of the way to get you anything you may want on that rare occasion they don’t carry it.

We sincerely hope that Walmart does not come to our town, if it should..we will not patronize it. I hope all residents boycott it and support our small town local merchants.

Most sincerely,

Glenn & Beth Larsen

To the Editor:

Just to let someone know that there are people out here that are delighted that a WalMart Express will be building here…count me as one.

There are things that folks sometimes need that are not available at the local grocery store. Also, there are people who would like to shop WalMart but are unable to get to New Bern. On the other side, folks are not looking at the tax revenue for Pamlico County.

Most of the protesters seem to be the folks that have moved here from other states or larger cities and they think a Walmart would change the feel of this town. The WalMart will be outside the city.

I have lived here since 1969, my children have gone to school here and I have seen changes to the town that are great. Remember this….we are not Hilton Head and hopefully will never be like that; so bring on the WalMart Express!

Linda Page

To the Editor,

I am not a resident of Oriental, but do patronize many of the businesses. It is a horrifying thought to see this kind of business putting up a sign in this sleepy hamlet.

Dollar General was quite a different tone, but was accepted as not as threatening as Walmart.

It seems that there is an influence that feels that a Walmart would be a wonderful addition to this town. It would be a great thing for the county, but the location would be more appropriate between Olympia and Stonewall. It would service a much wider area. Oriental is kind of “the end of the tracks” so to speak.

It is a great possibility that Walmart will come to Oriental, but that does not mean it needs to be patronized. It seems that the concern for the existing businesses is an obligation of all the patrons of these businesses is to be true to them.

The business owners and their employees are all your friends and neighbors. Would you abandon their services and expertise for a few pennies less? It seems to me that progress is hard to stop, but that does not mean that Oriental cannot be the same great town with or without Walmart! What transient boater/renter would not want to go to a small town store and escape the mundane shopping?

Signed with great respect to your effort.

Susie Hiller

Dear Editor:

My immediate reaction to a WalMart (whether big or small) is … oh no! I have bragged profusely about the fact that Oriental is NOT home to “fast foods, chain stores, etc. Now in comes WalMart!

Yes, many profess to “not frequent WalMart if in fact they build here”, but the reality is that those who claim they will not step foot into that store will actually end up shopping there.

Perhaps if Oriental were to annex the property and not let WalMart be a free-loader on the town’s resources – water included – then they might change their minds.

Please do not get me wrong. I am all for progress. But I am not for progress that will hurt our local businesses and I say WalMart will destroy them.

Too often we don’t appreciate what we have until it is gone and once it is gone… it usually doesn’t ever come back.

Martha Gail Good

The letter writer is a candidate for Oriental Town Board in the November election.

Dear Editor,

Pamlico County’s economy is beginning to show signs of recovery after a prolonged recession and a devastating hurricane. Merchants who’ve struggled to stay afloat during the last three years are beginning to feel the pressure ease.

Enter Walmart Express.

Those of you excited by the prospect of having Walmart’s “everyday low prices” right here in our area might want to think again and think a lot deeper. What’s at stake? What might we lose? After all, those are important questions.

Walmart conducts business according to its own rules. Contracting directly with manufacturers on a global scale, it bypasses the distribution process and its related costs altogether. Such previously strong American manufacturers as Carolina Mills, Vlassic Pickles, and Huffy Bicycles, each of them suppliers to Walmart at one time or another, have gone bankrupt as a direct result of Walmart’s heavy production demands and rock-bottom purchasing practices.

Worse yet are the communities that have lost everything. Family owned and privately financed “Mom-and-Pop” businesses like we have here in Pamlico County cannot possibly price their goods low enough to compete with this retail giant’s “everyday low prices.” We stand to lose our pharmacies, hardware stores, grocery stores, retailers and clothing stores to this faceless and greedy company.

Empty storefronts will result; property values will decline. And our money will be siphoned off to Walmart’s coffers faster than you can say, “Goodbye.” This has already happened repeatedly and predictably to many communities just like ours throughout the country. Walmart is NOT a friendly neighborhood store—as the world’s largest retailer, it is a corporate menace. If you are interested in more evidence, there is a compelling film “The High Cost of Low Prices” with excerpts on YouTube. I urge everyone to watch it.

Thank you, Towndock.net, for bringing this potential problem to our attention. Citizens and business owners against having a Walmart in our area are invited to meet at the Village Food Emporium this afternoon at 2 p.m. (Sunday, Aug. 25th, 2013).


Bama Lutes Deal

To the Editor:

I have been visiting Oriental for the last several years. It was like the small town where I grew up outside of Charlotte. With this small town feeling, I purchased a home here in Oriental and moved from Savannah. After my wife passed away at age 34, four years ago, I wanted to raise my 8-year old son and 6-year old daughter in Oriental. I truly want them to be embraced in the small town feel.

A small town provides an example to our children of what made the United States so great. It provides examples of the true meaning of neighbors, community, and on local small businesses.

My small town lost all of these traits when Walmart moved in. No, it did not happen over night — it took place over about 5 years.

Also, most of are local businesses support local American goods, not overseas Chinese goods that do not last. Help keep America strong, by preventing the big box store take over.

Please support our local community and our small town feel for our children.

Scott Pickard

To the Editor:

I am thoroughly perplexed by Walmart’s decision to open a Walmart Express store in Oriental.

Opening a 12,000 sq. ft. retail store in a town of 850 people? I don’t know what they’re thinking. Maybe this establishment would be suited for Bayboro but certainly not Oriental.

I agree with the earlier letter writer that the folks in the northern/western part of the County (Grantsboro, Bayboro…) certainly will travel the extra few miles and shop at the Super Walmart in New Bern. So, where is this proposed store’s clientele? Oriental, Arapahoe? Maybe the sprawling metropolis of Whortonville?

This is simply a foolish business decision. Retail sales info needs to be gathered, analyzed and delivered to the brainiac’s in Arkansas, because it’s a simple argument that this is a 12,000 sq, ft. mistake, not to mention the beginnings of a business blight for the town.

Ben Giacchino
Former and future resident of Oriental
Dawsonville, GA

PS- Here’s where to start the email Campaign:

Walmart Corporate Office Headquarters in the USA:
702 SW 8th Street
Bentonville, Arkansas 72716-8611
Corporate Phone Number: 1-800-925-6278 or 1-479-273-4000
Corporate Fax Number: 1-479-277-1830
Corporate Email: info@wal-mart.com

To TownDock:

After decades of targeting large to medium sized cities Walmart is working its final frontier, small towns.

They bring cheap goods at a high cost to communities. They do it by driving local business out of business, and by paying low wages. The average annual income of a Walmart employee is under $14,000 per year although the U. S. Department of Health and Human services sets the poverty line and at $23,000 per year for a family of four. Walmart offers health insurance, but it is so expensive employees can’t afford it.

We can be sure they know which businesses in Oriental they are targeting for extinction. A worthwhile viewing is the documentary titled “Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price”. In the film a former employee tells of a game they would play by scanning main streets and predicting which businesses would fold first.

Who will fold first in Oriental?

Bob Miller

The letter writer is former chairman of the Oriental Planning Board

Dear Editor:

Almost 14 years ago I first visited Oriental. I found the town very friendly, welcoming, and beautiful. I wasn’t there long before I decided I wanted to be a part of the community. I had 10 years left before retiring but bought property with plans to build when retirement came my way.

Over the years I’ve watched Oriental create and advertise all kinds of events to attract the weekend tourists or should I say the weekend tourist dollar. Towndock.net reported how well attended these events were. “Well attended” equates to dollars entering the local economy.

Now someone else wants in on the cash flow, albeit a Walmart and everyone is woe is me/us. Three years ago I came to the decision that Oriental wanted to be something that it wasn’t when I first visited and while I still own property in the near outlying area, I chose to live elsewhere because I saw this coming.

I’ve seen this happen before. Local governments and businesses collaborate to create income flow into the community/businesses and it works so well that the changes are irreversible…. and not so good for the ordinary citizen not making money from the new influx of businesses and workers. Some property values will rise, others will crash but the people will come.

Welcome to your new normal Oriental.

John Norris
Belhaven, NC

Dear Town of Oriental,

I heard with horror about the Walmart plans. This is no place for such a large undertaking. The traffic alone is a huge concern, not to mention the total character change it would have on the surrounding area.

Theoretically, I have no objection to this smaller version of Walmart coming to Pamlico County, but practically, not in or near Oriental. There are many appropriate areas up past Bayboro for this kind of undertaking to occur in an area that is already primed for a retailer of this magnitude.

My alternative suggestions the following: 1) across from Mr Fulcher’s horse farm on Route 55 or
2) that lovely tract of land about a half a mile into River Dunes with a beautiful waterview! (where ‘rumor’ has it that a Walmart executive lives!)

May we all be united in our objections and active participation in helping to avoid this potential travesty!


Paula Valinoti

Dear Editor:

Several of the letters submitted so far regarding the possible construction of a Walmart Express seem dismayed and disgusted that the corporate giant would consider placing a small store near Oriental.

The possible decision to locate a store there could be seen as a sign of progress for the community. But more than that why not consider the lower income population of Pamlico County that might benefit from lower prices on some essential goods without having to drive so far to find them?

If you don’t want a Walmart Express then don’t shop there. If you indeed support the current stores in town, keep doing so and they won’t have a problem. Regardless, why not let the free market decide whether a Walmart Express is welcome or not outside Oriental? If they don’t do a good job servicing the needs of the community, they won’t last. If the current local businesses do, they will continue to succeed. It is a matter of choice, not control.

Randy Durham

Letter to Town Dock Re: Walmart.

My feelings about Walmart echo those of the other letters of protest already printed. How about a simple petition that states:

“I support Oriental’‘s local businesses and do not want nor will I shop in a Walmart store in Oriental.”

Since the proposed store is not in the Town limits, a bunch of us could canvas our neighborhoods door to door from the ferry to Merritt, petition in hand and deliver them to Walmart’s corporate office ASAP.

Surely their marketing gurus recognize that from Bayboro and beyond, potential Walmart customers will continue to support their local businesses or drive to New Bern, not Oriental.

Does anyone know the name and email address of Walmart’s North Carolina marketing developer?

Marlene Miller

To the Editor:

I’m dismayed to read of possible plans for a Walmart Express on the town margin. My residence is now elsewhere, but my husband and I still own property within the village.

The good news is that Walmart has a history of changing its mind when the locals put up a big enough fight. The same thing was about to happen in Pawleys Island, where I lived years ago, and the community stopped it.

You all stopped the ferry tolls and you can stop this, especially since the land is not yet sold. Stop it and go back to work on an ETJ (Extra Territorial Jurisdiction) provision that would enforce design standards for a wider distance outside the town limits.

Let me know where to send the letters and make the phone calls.

Kathy Kellam
Pinnacle, NC

The letter writer is a former Oriental Town Commissioner.

Dear Editor:

There have been several things that have occurred in Oriental during my 7 years of residence that have truly angered me; but if you put them all together and multiply them by 100, they don’t approach the anger I feel about a Walmart coming to our town.

Visitors would drive into Oriental and be greeted by a Walmart on one side of the street and a Dollar General on the other. Is this really the image we want people to see as they enter our fair town?

Stop and think for a moment what Oriental would look like a year after the Walmart opened. Town & Country would be boarded up as would Denton’s Pharmacy. Then, after another year or so when Walmart realizes there is not enough business here to justify their store, it will be boarded up and we will be left with nothing.

Neither the Town Board nor the Mayor have governance over this matter. The only ones who can stop it are the people who live and shop here. We have to convince the people in Arkansas that we simply won’t shop at their store. How can we do that? Well, I guess I’m not smart enough to figure that out; but one, or a bunch of you are.

Please don’t let this happen to Oriental.

John Zeren

To the Editor:

I am extremely disappointed to see that a Walmart Express is coming to Oriental. Walmart has a history of putting Main Street businesses out of business. The typical Walmart Express includes groceries and a pharmacy. If Oriental loses its core businesses because of Walmart, what will we look like? Empty stores and a behemoth on the outskirts of town.

The charm of Oriental is our small businesses – Village Hardware, Denton’s Pharmacy, Town and Country, Nautical Wheelers, The Provision Company, Croakertown and Pigeon Holes. These are businesses that depend on our local dollars day in and day out to keep them sustained and operating.

I also do not understand Walmart’s thinking in placing their store outside Oriental. I understand that the Walmart Express stores are targeted to the market that shops at Dollar General and Family Dollar stores. I would think that Grantsboro where there is already a shopping hub would make more marketing sense than outside Oriental. I don’t think the Bayboro residents will come to Oriental to shop when they can just go to Dollar General or drive a few more miles to New Bern and shop at the larger Walmart.

My question is how do we fight this? If the land has not closed yet, is there something we can do to make our feelings known? At any rate, if it is built, I will protest with my feet and not shop at a Walmart Express.

Nelda Coats

Dear Editor:

It saddens me to think that the “Town of Oriental” would “welcome” a store of this kind.

One, who welcomed this opportunity? Certainly not me. This company is a one-stop shop for most of anything you can get that’s under the sun. This will mean more shops that cater to our lovely town would close.

I’m still not sure who would welcome that? Again, please allow this email to serve as my direct opposition to this very bad idea.

For those of you who would like to see this happen, move to New Bern and shop to your heart’s content.


Captain Steve Kenney

Dear Editor:

Walmart’s Express store concept for Pamlico County may be as much pie-in-the-sky as not. Yet while things may not have worked out like the big retailer planned for the smaller stores, North Carolina remains a target state for the concept, according to several online articles.

Let’s hope the small-store concept continues to have troubles.

Walmart stores used to be fairly reliable and spotlessly clean. They certainly made for decent bathroom and refueling stops when on the road. I can tell you from recent experience that’s no longer the case. The stores often are downright filthy. The bathrooms are almost always horrendous, with more hiney germs per square inch than you’ll find in a Vietnamese brothel washroom.

I’m not alone in feeling this way. Forbes, the business magazine, had an online column in May this year on the icky mess at Walmart that drew more than 1,000 comments.

But the real shame is what the big discount retailer is apt to do to some of our mom and pops.

One example. Walmart Express stores have a pharmacy. Walmart in New Bern sells Sumatriptan, which I use for my migraines, for $98 for a nine-pill box. I learned that after getting transferred twice and spending roughly 12 minutes on the telephone. According to an “associate” in the Big Box pharmacy, Walmart doesn’t sell the generic brand of sumatriptan. The same nine-pill box goes for $18 at Denton Pharmacy in Oriental, which does sell the generic brand.

That’s an $80 savings, not counting the additional savings in fuel costs. For those who’ve endured a Walmart pharmacy, there’s the extra benefit of not being treated like cattle.

In any case, we may save a dollar or two on a shopping trip and a tank of fuel if this Walmart mess comes to Pamlico County. But in the long run, it’s my feeling we are going to loose if this pipe dream ever becomes a reality. Let’s hope it doesn’t.

Tony Tharp

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