The Iron Range city of Mountain Iron is getting a Super Wal-Mart, according to the Mesabi Daily News.
I’d argue this has more effect on the local economy that the re-routing of Highway 53. The first Super Wal-Mart on the Iron Range was in Hibbing. It was a huge success for Wal-Mart, posting big numbers during its first several years. And while the locals argue whether it was a good thing or a bad thing, the number of businesses that closed afterward is staggering.
Grand Rapids opened a Super Wal-Mart next, a few years ago. While Grand Rapids has a stronger retail economy to start than Hibbing did, and already had a Wal-Mart, you can already see the effects of the Super Center on the far south side of town. Strip malls moved down there. Businesses fled the downtown mall to move there. And here and there, small shops are closing.
So now this is going to happen on the east Range. I’m not here to moralize about Wal-Mart. I go in there sometimes, too. But this is what happens.
In 2008 I wrote about a Hibbing Wal-Mart kerfuffle. It’s pretty much the same now.