A letter from the Free Press publisher

Dear readers,

Wal-Mart isn’t our friend. They aren’t our buddies. They don’t care about Marion County. They see us as a way to suck up more market share and that is all. I wrote an editorial about this a few weeks ago. I have been more than vocal about it when people ask my opinion. Joel Klaassen, former owner of the Hillsboro Free Press, has too. We aren’t fans, to put it lightly.

Yesterday we posted the story announcing the big box giant’s arrival in Hillsboro, and that has generated a lot of clicks on the website, conversation on social media and gossip throughout the community.

People are talking about the story. They should be. This could be a pivotal time in Marion County history.

One comment in particular struck a chord with me, though. Several people were for or against the idea of Wal-Mart locating in Hillsboro, but one made a comment I felt I needed to address publicly.

“Oh, and you can rest assured they’ll accept Wal-Mart ad money. All day long,” part of the comment read, referencing the Hillsboro Free Press and us taking money from Wal-Mart.

This couldn’t be further from the truth.

Like, “Over my dead body” kind of wrong. We will never take money from Wal-Mart or support their deplorable business practices. I say that because I believe it, and I put my money where my mouth is.

Wal-Mart isn’t like all chain stores or companies. They are an immoral corporation, which has a formula in place to essentially get the government to supplement their profit margins.

The way they pay employees is low enough and the way they keep employees at low hours is enough that most qualify for welfare, and where do they use that check? That’s right, Wal-Mart.

It has been reported by several news outlets that the company coaches employees on how to qualify for Welfare and fill out the paperwork.

Reports have been made that in Ohio alone Wal-Mart stores cost the state $440 million in tax money from food stamps, Medicaid and any other way they can subsidize their operation. Take that times 50 states?or even a fraction of it?the dollars are huge. And it is coming from your pocket.

They know how to work the system. They treat employees poorly and the communities where they locate worse.

They also bully vendors into those “Always low prices” they offer. If a vendor doesn’t meet their demands, they just pull them from their millions of stores and tell the vendor, if they want to lose all that revenue, then fine, but if they want to keep their product on the shelf, they are going to sell it to Wal-Mart for what Wal-Mart wants to pay for it.

It’s a vicious cycle where no one wins but Wal-Mart.

They are coming to Marion County to put people out of business. They aren’t attacking an area where there is a lack of service. There are already plenty of places to buy what they will be selling?except our local places feature better customer service and a more quality product, of course.

They are coming here to eat up market share. That is all.

Will we support that? I promise you we won’t. We are going to fight to educate people about the dangers of that company and make them aware of what shopping with our local vendors does to help our county, our community and keep these towns wonderful.

I have already contacted communities who have fought and beat Wal-Mart through smart planning and getting the word out. I plan on bringing resources to the table from these people. We won’t take this lying down; they will have to earn every dollar they make in this community.

Have a question? Ask. I am not scarce, but if your question is, “Will the Free Press take Wal-Mart money and advertising?” You now know the answer is no. Not now, not ever.



Joey Young

Hillsboro Free Press Owner and Publisher

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