retail news in context, analysis with attitude

The Washington Post has an interesting piece about how a series of elections scheduled to take place this week in Northern Virginia have evolved into debates about the role of commercial development in these communities. “As the Washington area continues its suburban expansion,” the paper reports, “few places are feeling the effects of growth as sharply as Northern Virginia's smallest jurisdictions. Many candidates vying for mayoral and council seats are defining their races as referendums on the future shape of their downtowns and business districts.”

It isn’t an easy decision for candidates and communities to reach. There is a crying need on the part of many of these communities for new tax revenue that would be generated by commercial development, but many fear that their Main Streets will lose their character and become mere shadows of other municipalities that have been overbuilt and overly homogenous.
KC's View:
We mention this because it reflects the debate that seemed to captivate MNB users last week…but also because the name “Wal-Mart” isn’t ever mentioned in the article. The development debate is one that is expanding, both in terms of the communities where it takes place and the companies that it could affect. Retailers of all stripes need to be aware of the pitfalls, and perhaps begin developing plans that are more sensitive to community concerns.