“Barbaboo has a very good chance of losing its identity.” That’s one of the concerns of John Smith, one of the leaders of a new group formed in Baraboo, Wisconsin to fight the application of a Menard’s home improvement store. “Think about why you live here and what attracted you here. The Baraboo community is a very special place…and the ‘little town’ appeal that we are so proud of.” Smith helped spark a new group, the Citizens Against Big Box Sprawl. He points out that Baraboo already has an empty 71,159 s.f. Wal-Mart, one of 9 in Wisconsin. “This empty building represents the attitude of the big box stores,” Smith writes. “They are not particularly concerned with the communities they move into or leave. To leave a large building vacant, and to move to another community about a mile down the road…who’s looking out for whom?” The Citizens Against Big Box Sprawl have made it clear for residents what’s at stake. “I’m fighting for my job, my family, my home, and my community,” Smith says.Smith works at a locally-owned lumber company. According to CABBS, there are at least 3 Menard’s within an easy drive of Baraboo.
The anti-sprawl group in Baraboo won a fan in local newspaper columnist Myra Furse. In a Baraboo News Republic column this past week, Furse praised the efforts of the Citizens Against Big Box Sprawl. “Once these big corporations take over and become the only source of supply, they can charge anything they want. They have us over the proverbial barrel. We can’t find what we want without traveling or buying from them. My feeling is that I would rather pay a little more, even though my finances are limited, and buy from someone who has been an integral part of the business community for years. They have earned our loyalty.” For more information about the CABBS and the fight to stop Menards, contact John Smith at [email protected]