Sunday, Sept. 24, 2023 |
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In support of the Costco effect
By Edward Simpson
I have read with interest all of the correspondence concerning Costco (and the “other” big box stores). Points are well taken for and against Costco coming to our Garden Island. My observation of both sides of the argument and personal, first hand experience with the effects upon a community with a huge big box shopping mall in Goleta (Santa Barbara, California) make for a unique perspective based upon facts and experience.
First, where there was once an open field in Santa Barbara now sits – Costco, Home Depot, Linens and Things, Staples, Six Plex Movie Theater, half a dozen “chain” sitdown restaurants, Big K-Mart, Computer USA, and some 12 other smaller chains…all in one location.
So what was the effect of this huge influx of discount retailers upon the local merchants? Some have gone out of business. Most have adapted and they banded together to create a wonderful upgrade of a dilapidated, out of date, and dirty downtown region. It is well on its way to being what it should and could have been over a decade ago.
Second, the Box retailers have provided far more jobs and security and money into the community then the locals could have. The locals have adapted and progressed. Many of the new local businesses are a direct result of providing goods and services to the Box retailers.
Third, the socio-economics are clearly enhanced in this community. Is that the case everywhere Costco has gone? I would say probably not, but I do not know. I know on the Big Island with Costco there has been one gas station that has gone out of business, none others. And there must be three dozen or more mom and pop operations all around Costco.
Four, as for savings gathered by shopping at these Big box retailers (which the most recent author right-fully points out will happen), where do you think those funds will go? I have seen it first hand and they go back into the local economy to buy even more goods and services. Many from the local merchants who offer complimentary or better quality merchandise.
In short, when you have a set number of dollars to purchase goods and services, if these dollars go further or you have more of them, you purchase more, period. The recent federal tax cuts and refunds is the latest example of these consumer-spending habits.
So again, will some retailers go out of business – yes! Will they all go out of business – no! Will new business be created, adjusted and streamlined…of course! The introduction of the Big Box Retailer will not kill the local economy, nor with proper growth limited to the current area, will it populate our Island, nor hurt its beauty. Change is always hard and emotional, but hardly the beginning of the end of Kaua‘i or her aloha.
The emotion of change is never easy, but to me it is clear that this is a well placed and thought out plan by Costco and Kaua‘i. I for one will welcome them, and think that many others on fixed or limited incomes (especially with children) will find that their dollars will go much further. You see, it is the people who make up Kaua‘i, not the mountains, the reefs, the beach, the Ocean…those are in many places. Aloha is in one place…Kaua‘i!
Edward Simpson is a resident of Kilauea
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