Editorial: Population dictates progress, limits growth in Charles City and New Kent
You know how the old saying goes: “You’re not going to please everyone.” That definitely was the case after last week’s announcement of a Dollar General possibly coming to Charles City.
Instead of embracing the possibility of having additional revenue from business, comments flooded the Chronicle’s Facebook wall. Here is a summary of those comments are as follows:
“Another Dollar General? Isn’t there enough of them?”
“How about bringing in a grocery store instead?”
“What about the Internet? How you going to bring a business in without the Internet?”
As I said numerous times, I have no problem with comments that people make. But sometimes there are things that are tough to explain when a person comments on growth, whether it’s in New Kent and Charles City. So, this editorial is going to attempt to do so.
When businesses look to expand or locate to an area, they are looking for three primary things: population of the county, foot traffic that the business will garner, and how fast they can turn a profit. Using the Internet as an example, companies choose not to provide access (especially in Charles City) due to the inability to turn a profit. Charles City has a population of roughly 7,000 people and New Kent comes in just above 20,000. Companies look at those numbers along with what it costs to provide that service. Plain and simple, the cost outweighs providing the high-speed service. The same can go for placing a grocery store or a superstore (Walmart, Target) in the area as well. These stores bring in a lot of customers within one day in the areas they are located. When considering a location, if that traffic is not there, they will not construct a facility.
I can speak somewhat on the principle because the distribution of the Chronicle is the same way. At high volume locations, we place more newspapers at racks because it’s common sense and we know people will pass by there more often. Businesses use the same principles; if more people are there, then traffic will generate reasoning to provide more services to citizens and build in a location.
There are some businesses that often become too ambitious (please see history of Internet problems in Charles City) while trying to provide services to a county. Currently, Charles City and New Kent won’t receive the Internet services or grocery stores or superstores or other type of big businesses until the population reaches a certain number. While New Kent is trending the right way, Charles City still has a long way to go.
So, when you make comments (whether supporting or opposing a business or the status of not having a service) be mindful to use common sense about how realistic it can be to bring it to our area. While we wish for different businesses to come to our localities, we live in a world where population dictates progress.