Someone Posts Business Cemetery In Front of Wal-Mart Notice

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Makeshift business cemetery on Cloverdale Road. (Photo: Carter Watkins, WHNT News 19)

A public notice advertising the rezoning of residential property into a business district has been up for the last couple of weeks on Cloverdale Road.  It’s what went up beside it overnight that has people slowing down to read.

Someone posted headstones with the names of businesses in north Florence that could be affected by a new Wal-Mart.  A person contacted WHNT News 19 on Monday afternoon, claiming he or she put up the headstones, but wished to remain anonymous.  The person issued this statement, though:

“I don’t want anyone to forget about the businesses that can’t compete with Wal-Mart,” the statement read.  “These are businesses who have been serving our part of the community for many years.  These smaller and home-owned businesses will suffer and some will close.  That will leave empty buildings behind and contribute to lost jobs, some of which offer their employees better pay and benefits.  These businesses are our neighbors and our friends.   I wanted to pay my respects to them. This was not a CAUS group action.”

We spoke with a member of Citizens Against Urban Sprawl on Monday.  CAUS has fought Wal-Mart from building the store, and organizer Coy Bramlett says he agrees with the message on the headstones.

“Because of the competition, in three to four years we feel that eight, 10 or 12 businesses will be closed here,” said Bramlett.

Bramlett says businesses like Big Star, Dollar General, and CVS Pharmacy will not be able to compete with Wal-Mart.  Bramlett says the lack of business competition will also trickle down to other employers.

“We’ve got hardware stores, we’ve got banks that depend on these small businesses that will be hurting,” said Bramlett.

Coy Bramlett says the markers send a strong message to everyone who sees them along Cloverdale Road.  He says he hopes that message will be heard in City Hall.

The Florence City Council is set to vote Tuesday on the rezoning of five acres of land for a possible Wal-Mart.  The meeting is at 5 p.m.