BURAGW, NC (WECT) - Walmart is applying to bring a store to Burgaw, but the idea is getting mixed reviews.
The plans call for putting the retailer on Highway 50, behind the Pender Landing Shopping Center.
While many people said they are excited about the plans, because it means they won't have to drive to Wilmington or even Wallace to go to Walmart, others said they are have concerns about having the business potentially come to town.
"Having a Walmart here in Burgaw would not help us at all," said Herbert Harrell. His great-grandfather opened Harrell's Department store in 1903, and it's been in the family ever since.
"We know at least half of the people that walk in our doors and I greet them by name," said Herbert.
He says with Walmart potentially moving in a mile away he's worried about the future, explaining that when Walmart opened in Wallace, the department store lost business. Herbert is worried they will lose more business if the superstore comes to Burgaw.
"People are going to go to Walmart and they are going to think they will be able to get cheaper, less expensive things there, so they might not come to see us," said Herbert. He says he's not just worried about his store, but other small businesses.
"Walmart, it worries me," said Ross Harrell, who owns Rochelle's furniture, which is around the corner. "It's a sinking feeling we are hanging on by our fingertips, like other small businesses are, it's not something we need. He says it would make it harder to keep the doors open.
"A small business like we are competing against Walmart, isn't fair," said Ross.
Both businessman say what makes their shops special is they care about the community.
"I don't think the cooperation like Walmart cares about the people like I do," said Herbert, explaining his business does everything they can to support local organizations. He says he's worried a big retailer would take away from the since of community his family has spent decades working for.
Amanda Henneberg, a spokesperson for Walmart, said the company is looking forward to the possibility of working with the community and believes it would attract more activity to the area.
According to Amanda Henneberg, some stores try to intentionally open next to Walmart in hopes of benefiting from the customer traffic.
"We look forward to working with the community in an effort to provide customers in the Burgaw area with more convenient shopping options that include both affordable food and a wide assortment of general merchandise," said Henneberg. "In addition to employing approximately 200 associates, our store would help ensure that our customers have access to the products they need for their families close to where they live and work."
According to Henneberg, the proposed Walmart would be smaller than most supercenters, but would still offer a full range of groceries and include a pharmacy, gas station and general merchandise.
The planning board will consider Walmart's application on October 17, if approved it would go to the Board of Commissioners to hold a public hearing and make a decision.
Walmart is also looking to bring a grocery store to Surf City.
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