Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

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Letters to the Editor

January 2, 2013

Bluefield leaders are to blame for empty grocery store

— In the past months, we have heard and read a lot about the old Kroger building being leased by K-VA-T Food Stores Inc., and all the threats and the pledge to boycott Food City in Bluefield Va. Have some of these people stopped to think of the following:

• If Kroger was making a profit would they have closed.  No.

• The city of Bluefield’s B&O tax is one thing hurting them. If you were going to open a business would you open up in a city with a B&O tax or just a few miles away without a B&O tax? Be honest with yourself.

• If you signed a lease hoping to open a store but did not get to actually inspect the building until after the former tenant moved, and it was going to cost you millions due to what Kroger did to the inside to run new lines to install freezers, coolers, etc., would you spend that kind of money. Probably not.

• If you were the CEO of K-VA-T and the mayor and other city leaders were making demands that you open a grocery store, lease to another grocery store or pull out of your lease that will cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars out of your pocket — not theirs — would you meet their demands? To my way of thinking this is no different than blackmailing someone, which is illegal unless you’re the mayor and can use some fancy words for it. Bottom line it’s still a form of blackmail.

• How many schools in the area — Mercer and Tazewell counties — has Food City donated money to through their Food City School Bucks? Donated food items? Advertised with or helped in one way or another?

Yet the mayor and the city board members want the local residents to boycott them. Are you going to ask them to boycott Walmart? Do you not think they pull dollars from or hurt businesses in Bluefield, W.Va. I understand that it is hard for some elderly residents (my grandmother is 94) to travel a few more miles to shop, but if you want to make demands on a company why don’t you demand Kroger repair the damage they did to the inside of the building they vacated before trying to place all the blame on K-VA-T .

Quit making it so hard on individuals that want to try and open small businesses in the area and start supporting them, (example, the couple who wanted to open a small snack type thing in the city park). If you want to get down and dirty why don’t you check which businesses operating within the city limits have the legal licenses to do the business they are operating. Why don’t you stop bad mouthing K-VA-T and start really working on trying to be business friendly, and not just to a chosen few and you may get businesses within the city. But its you the mayor and the city leaders that are actually killing Bluefield  due to your demands and not truly working with neighboring areas. In your mind it’s give me all or nothing, and right now it looks to me as if Bluefield is getting nothing.

Jean Jarrett

Falls Mills

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