A Small Southern Town’s Fight Against Big Business

A small southern town is being challenged by the prospect of the corporate giant, Walmart, opening a store in town, which has caused much protest and dispute among citizens.

Water Valley Mississippi : population 3,700. Water Valley is a town with a story of triumph. Until recently, it was a dreary town that needed saving. Back in 2010, Alexe van Bueren, owner of B.T.C.O old fashioned grocery, started up her business in order to bring the small town feel back to Water Valley.

The first news of a Walmart opening popped up on social media, then made it to the press. Although, it has not been officially confirmed that Walmart will be in fact opening, there are rumors of the chain store being placed near the hospital in Water Valley. However, the real story comes from the reactions of citizens.

As soon as news starting circulating that Walmart could be coming to Water Valley, several forms of backlash starting to arise, mainly coming from citizens. One form of protest in particular is a Facebook page entitled, “Long Live Water Valley,” that came about on April 14th. The first post urged citizens to write to the local paper, and save their small town from becoming crushed from the corporate giant.

The man behind the page is Mr. Mickey Howley. He is an advocate against Walmart, Director of the Water Valley Main Street association, and has had a piece on the topic published in the North Mississippi Herald.

“Pretty much ruined every town this small—destroys commerce in the center of town–and all the small businesses that make a town vibrant and nice place to live,” Howley said of Walmart.

Mr. Howley has lived in small towns for almost 20 years. He has worked to not return Water Valley to it’s past, per say, but to it’s small town charm while still heading into the future, and keeping local business thriving.

“Kiss your nice downtown goodbye! Hope that money you save makes up for the real estate value loss,” he said, if a Walmart will officially open in town.

There have been various instances that illustrate how Mr. Howley’s statement has come true for many small towns.  Recently, a Walmart express has tried to move into Merkel, Texas.  In a story by the Huffington post, there was proof that many small town officials do not heed to the proper steps of opening a business when corporate giants come in to play.  Citizens of Water Valley may have this prospect to fear in their own small town.

According to a piece by Salon, a hundred dollars to a local business gives the local economy one third more of a benefit, as well as one third more jobs than a national one.  There have been studies of this, proving a Walmart in small town will hinder, and not help.  A Walmart Express is equally as crushing as a full sized store.

The prospect of a Walmart opening up in town may be further away from reality than expected. The North Mississippi Herald reported that executives from Walmart cancelled their appearance the afternoon of a planning commission meeting April, 12. The company gave the town not explanation as to why they did not show.

The corporate giant Walmart has been contacted for this piece, yet they have given no comment on the new store opening in Water Valley. There has yet to be any official confirmation of the companies establishment in Water Valley.

Many citizens and businesses are most certainly relieved by this delay, although they do want definite answers from the company eventually.

Ms. van Bueren has be an important advocate against Walmart coming into Water Valley. As a local merchant, she worries about business moving from a small town focus to a large scale scene.

“…this tale we’ve been telling the world: the good life in a small town with mom-and-pop businesses– will cease to be true,” van Bueren wrote on the B.T.C Old Fashioned Grocery Facebook page.

Currently, there are 4,205 Walmart stores in the United States alone. This is not including Sam’s Club locations.In 2014, Walmart has had $476.29 billion in sales and revenue. They are in the top three earning companies in the United States.

Many citizens believe that Water Valley will only suffer from a giant such as this company. If the chain store is to open in Water Valley, citizen’s believe there will be no gain from it. Ms. van Bueren believes any jobs created will not be good ones.

Mr. Howley’s piece published in the North Mississippi Herald also prompted some thoughts about Walmart’s impending arrival. He believes that the company has not thought one bit about the effect it will have on Water Valley. Walmart is only thinking about their own commercial gains.

“We’re part of their new profit plan. Their profit, not ours,” said Howley in his piece.

Not many people have been for the addition of a Walmart in Water Valley. Editors at the North Mississippi Herald have been swamped with letters regarding the issue. They’ve asked specifically for letters in favor of the company’s arrival in the community. They have not received many.

Yet there is a small group of Water Valley citizen’s who have spoken up in the company’s favor.

“I am all for our town growing and I would vote for a Walmart to come to town, I think it just might put our little town on the map… God Bless our small town,” said citizen Virhinia Weaver.

Some citizens believe it is time for a change in the community. They want their town to move into the future and not be stuck forever in an un-advanced past. They believe it is time to have more convenience for their shopping, and that there is more than the downtown area. They want their town to become one of importance.

Yet it has been a constant struggle between the two groups of citizens. One group wants to push Water Valley into the future with the addition of Walmart. On the other hand, this is going against every thing the other group of citizens has been working towards. They are trying to keep Water Valley an old fashioned small town.

Only time will tell if the citizens protests against the corporate giant will be effective. Perhaps the company will be no match for the heart that comes from a small southern town like Water Valley.



Diversity on the Square Poll

A Small Southern Town’s Fight Against Big Business : Final Story Pitch

For my final story, I would like to write about the fight against Water Valley Mississippi in opening a Walmart super center in town. Many citizens are concerned about the effect that the big business will have on such a small town with an old time feel. The B.T.C Old Fashioned Grocery, located on Main Street has been an advocate against the new business. As recent as Monday April 14th, a Facebook page has popped up called “Long Live Water Valley”. Petitions are starting to appear urging against the construction, as well as people writing letters to the editor. I want to see why people are against the expansion.  Some numbers to think about include the population in Water Valley, the number of Walmarts in the country, and how much revenue Walmart is nationally making already.

My four sources are as followed, with reasons why I believe they would be good to speak to:

Source 1 : Alexe van Bueren (Owner of B.T.C)

Bueren was one of the first people to speak out against the new Walmart opening. She was in the group of people that pulled the town up back to it’s original small town charm. I would like to ask her:

1.) Are you originally from a small town? Does this impact why you believe keeping a small town feel is so important?

2.) How did you come up with the idea to get the town back to it’s original ways?

3.) Why do you feel like Walmart will ruin the town?

4.) You’ve urged people to petition and write letter to the editor, but what else have you been doing to combat the new business?

5.) What do you have to say to the people that want Walmart, and the convenience that comes with it?

Source 2 : The editor at the local newspaper, who is receiving letters about this


1.) What are people saying about the idea of a Walmart opening? Are these things that are being said good or bad?

2.) As someone who works for a small town newspaper, do you believe a Walmart would be good?

Source 3 : Larry Hart, Mayor


1.) Do you believe a Walmart is good for Water Valley?

2.) Do you think the people fighting against the Walmart make a good point?

3.) If Walmart does end up being in Water Valley, is there a way to compromise to make the town still feel the same?

4.) What are you doing as a leader to compromise with the people of Water Valley?

Source 4: Citizens of Water Valley

I am hoping to contact citizens through the Facebook groups associated with this cause, and see if there are varying opinions on this matter.

1.) How long have you been living in Water Valley, and what has the experience of that been?

2.) Are you for or against Walmart opening?

3.) What do you think a Walmart would do to the feel of the town?

4.) What do you have to say to the people that want Walmart for the convenience?

Other sources of information: http://www.preservationnation.org/magazine/2014/spring/small-town-renaissance-water-valley-miss.html http://www.huffingtonpost.com/national-trust-for-historic-preservation/how-hand-painted-signs-he_b_5084240.html

Media Additions:

1.) Social media has been a huge part in this issue, and people have really gotten involved on Facebook and Twitter.  I would like to make a Storify of peoples reactions to this issue.

2.) I think an interview on SoundCloud would be useful as well since this is a rather emotional subject for some people.  It would be better to hear it in their own words.

Students Study At Starbucks : Photo Project


scene setter

Starbucks is a popular place to study for Ole Miss students, especially when the library is crammed


It can be very helpful for group projects, with a louder, talkative atmosphere.


Students are able to exchange ideas about homework.


With wifi, it is a popular place to write papers, and do research.


Instead of the traditional library, students are able to produce their work while combing their ideas with peers.


What Works : Husband of MH370 passenger wants answers


I clicked on this headline because I have been following the missing flight. The story has obviously a huge emotional appeal with the amount of missing people. I clicked on the headline because I wanted to hear what the husband of a missing passenger has to say about the whole situation.

There are several things that makes this story news worthy. First there is impact, emotionally. This is a story packed with emotion. Hundreds of people are missing with no leads as to where they are. Secondly, this story is timely. The search for the jet is still happening, and it is still being covered in the news. Thirdly, there is a part of the story that illustrates an oddity. Usually planes that go down are found pretty soon after. This plane just disappeared and has still not been found.

A hard news lead is used in this video. There is not much lead-in to the video, and it goes right into the actual interview with the victim’s husband. I think a hard lead was necessary in this case. The story is not a light and fluffy one, and a narrative would be inappropriate. The interview was the most important part and the news anchor needed to get right into it.

The story provides some great emotional detail. The difficult thing about the missing jet story is that there are not too many facts. There is not enough hard information to put into the story. The interview was mainly full of emotions, and questions from a victim’s family. The biggest takeaway was when the husband pleaded with the media to keep the story alive. He asked to keep the story in people’s minds, so that the search can still go on.

There was only one source interviewed for this story, the victim’s husband. I think this was an effective choice. By choosing only one interview subject, it was easier to emotionally connect to the audience, as well as giving the jet story depth.

The whole video was the actual interview with the news anchor. But photos of the victim were shown. For emotional appeal, perhaps the story could have used family photos, as well as commentary from other people that knew her.

Profile : Dr. Michael Harvey



When asked to be interviewed for his profile, Dr. Michael Harvey, distinguished chair of global business and professor of management, called himself “uninteresting,” and too old to be of any value for an interview.

With his gray hair, relaxed short sleeved button down, Dr. Harvey sat in front of an array of death masks, which were shocking to say the least for a first-time visitor to his office. He then opened up, entirely comfortable, about his long lasting career in global business.

Dr. Harvey is a very intriguing subject, having traveled to over 130 countries, and having written hundreds of papers from his research. Everyday, 365 days of the year, according to Harvey, he sits in his office,working, researching. He never has one project going on, rather 15 to 20.

“I’m that man that’s calling people on Christmas,” said Harvey.

His office is not a conventional one. The space has almost every inch covered, with artifacts from around the world. Shadow puppets from Indonesia, death masks, and megladon shark teeth are scattered around, all collected by Harvey.

“Each mask is named after an ex-grad student,” said Harvey, explaining that each artifact held a memory for him.

Harvey never expected to go into business. While studying to be a doctor, he injured one of his hands, and after realizing no one would need a one-handed surgeon, he promptly switched to business, along with gaining a biology degree.

Looking at Harvey’s record, he’s held countless jobs from consulting, to owning his own business. When asked why he’s held so many jobs, Harvey replied, with a smile, that he can not keep one.

“I don’t suffer fools well,” he said.

Harvey then explained how he first became employed at Ole Miss, rather out of the blue.

“It was a bad night,” he laughed.

The University needed a new dean of business. He worked as the dean for three years, gaining a total of $12 million for the school. Yet, Harvey did not last long as dean, due to “ingrain stupidity”, he felt he needed to deal with.

Dr. Harvey explained his strategy for life. He admitted that he gets bored quickly, and enjoys pushing him self to the next level. He compared himself to a boulder at the bottom of a hill. With every month, there is more to to do, and more to strive for, with a bit of fall back each time.

Harvey also confided that he has ADHD, which has affected his work in quite a big way. He never focuses on one project for long, working on multiple things at a time, and waiting for a light bulb to go off. Yet, this has affected him positively, as he turns out almost fifteen to twenty papers a year, while his other colleagues only come up with a few.

Harvey also uses ADHD as a model for his research. Many of his papers revolve around businessmen dealing with ADHD, and other disorders.

Yet, his main focus of research is travel, which he lives for, especially since his main business focus is global. He’s been traveling to Australia twice a year for ten years, to help at various schools. He has also helped various universities over seas get accredited. He also attends conferences all over the world and presents his research.

His favorite place to travel is Australia, and Northern European countries. He doesn’t enjoy Southern Europe, or South America very much.

Surprisingly, Harvey does not actually speak a second language. Besides ADHD, he suffers from dyslexia, and it was hard enough for him to learn English. This is why he tends to prefer countries where English is spoken. Harvey is extremely passionate about education.

He sometimes gets frustrated with students at Ole Miss, and feels that their main purpose is not always to learn when they come to Ole Miss. He believes students should be putting education first.

“Smiling, and drinking beer is not what you need,” said Harvey.

He wants his students to proud of their alma matter. Harvey says that he is a proud SMU graduate. He had a great experience during college, and he wants to make sure students feel the same way, while still getting a great education.

Harvey has been described as a tough, but really intelligent professor by many.

Before leaving his office, Michael Harvey gave a brief tour of the artifacts that he holds so dear to his heart, which he collects every time he travels. He shows off his masks from Mexico, that mock the Spanish, Indonesian shadow puppets, and megladon shark teeth.

Dr. Michael Harvey was not so un-interesting after all.

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