Retailer eyeing Craig

Wal-Mart confirms interest in city

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Wal-Mart officials confirmed Tuesday that they have been looking at property in Craig, but whether that means a super store will be here soon remains to be seen.

Company spokesman Keith Morris said Wal-Mart is very early in its process of determining whether Craig is a viable site for a store. The first step is to determine what properties are available, at what location and at what price.

"We haven't found anything yet we're ready to move forward with," Morris said.

"It's still very early in the process now."

When that is done, store officials will begin a marketing analysis and other compatibility assessments.

"We haven't done anything that would get anyone's hopes up," Morris said.

It's challenging, he said, to go through the property search process and have something not work out in the market research stage.

Wal-Mart has contacted area contractors seeking "budget bids" to determine construction costs and has received copies of city building codes.

The Wal-Mart Corp.expects to open 40 to 45 discount stores and 240 to 250 super centers in 2005.

City Manager Jim Ferree said he's not sure what to think of the proposal. Although the store would add to the sales tax collections in the city, it could be damaging to local retailers.

With several Wal-Mart stores in surrounding communities, he said he wasn't sure from where the store would pull customers, other than existing businesses.

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