In Mureen Waterman’s Letter to the Editor of October 11 (What “Little Guys” are Protected by QAC Big Box Referendum?) the title question is embarrassingly simple: all of them. Here in Centreville, we’ve got a small menswear shop, a local pharmacy, an appliance dealership, a picture framing studio, an eyewear store, a hardware store, and a lumber company. Does Mr. Watermen really think that these businesses, all of which likely exist on the slimmest of profit margins already, would not be impacted in any way by the building of a Big Box store in Queen Anne’s County?
Mr. Waterman also regrettably uses the examples of Rite Aid, Walgreens, and Safeway as the national chains that would be most susceptible to the influence of a Big Box neighbor. What he forgets, or blissfully ignores, is that those very stores are the ones who already helped to wipe small local grocers, pharmacies, and general stores from the Kent Island landscape. The establishment of a Big Box store would help to finish the job in Queen Anne’s County, threatening the very existence of our local plant nurseries, bicycle shops, lumber yards, hardware stores and countless other small businesses across the county. The people who own these businesses keep their dollars local, send their kids to county schools, involve themselves in the local political process and do not deserve to have their risk rewarded with Mr. Waterman’s idea of “growth.”
To define the very future well-being of our community on opening the county to Big Box businesses and to imply that somehow, the presence of these stores would have insulated Queen Anne’s County from the recession is absurd. The recession has been national in scope, and has hit those counties with Big Box development even harder than it hit counties like ours, as Americans drastically changed their spending habits. What’s more, these very stores that Mr. Waterman hopes to attract to our county are largely responsible for the outsourcing of millions of American manufacturing jobs, jobs that pay, or paid, much better than anything that can be found under the bright lights of a Big Box store.
Let’s not confuse building Big Box stores with the economic growth Queen Anne’s County needs. I encourage all voters to vote NO on Question B, and keep Queen Anne’s County small business friendly for the future.
Queen Anne’s County