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Community Store re-defining image of small town America

Editorial

Saranac Lake’s store — the first of its kind in New York state — was based on another community-owned department store, The Merc in Powell, Wyo. It’s only fitting that the Powell Tribune pick up on the New York Times story and compare the two communities and its “sister” stores.

“As it happens, Powell and Saranac Lake share more in common than a community-owned department store,” wrote the Tribune’s Tessa Schweigert on Nov. 17. “Both have a junior college. Both were named All-America Cities in the 1990s. Both have populations of fewer than 6,500 residents. Both have a rural flavor residents hope to keep alive.”

CNBC.com called the Community Store “A triumph of main street can-do” on Nov. 14. Now Saranac Lake is gaining a reputation for fighting the Wall Street business mentality, and it is quickly becoming the poster child for communities that fought Walmart and won.

Bloggers across the U.S. are relaying the New York Times report and asking readers what they think about Saranac Lake, its fight against Walmart and its decision to open a department store on its own terms. Comments on a recent blog posting at Glamour magazine’s website have been positive:

“This is the coolest thing I’ve read in weeks.”

“Capitalism at its best!”

“Amazing! Good for them. Wish we could all do that.”

Saranac Lake’s Community Store success has triggered a dialogue among small-town residents thinking about their own situations. Powell may have been Saranac Lake’s inspiration, but Saranac Lake is now poised to be an inspiration to many other American communities. And Community Store owners did this despite the recession, despite the failed actions of our federal government to stimulate the economy, and despite the big-box culture engrained in our society today.

Now people from around the country will be visiting the Adirondack Park to see the Community Store and discover everything else this region has to offer. Saranac Lake has once again proven why it was named an All-America City in 1996.

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