A couple years ago, I visited a small town in upstate New York.
For those who have never been to that area, it is old, quaint and very established, which is why the residents of not only the town, but the entire county, petitioned long and hard against Wal-Mart and other large box stores setting up shop in their community.
Perhaps that's what was best for their community, but fortunately, the residents of Liberty Township realized a Wal-Mart superstore is just what they need.
The slogan, ''waiting for Wal-Mart'' seems to be the rallying cry. Businesses, who the average outsider such as myself might think would be against the superstore coming in, are actually anxious for the grand opening, expected to take place early this fall.
There are always some who would resist the emergence of the huge store in a community that is used to celebrating its heritage as it struggles to preserve its past. Some of that heritage includes the generational family-owned businesses that line Belmont Avenue.
There is no denying that the company is hoping to work with the community that it hopes will make the company profitable. In one recent move, Wal-Mart officials worked out a deal with Youngstown where the city would provide water to the lines to the superstore provided a portion of newly hired employees be local residents. In another move, Wal-Mart is paying the township's portion of a project to widen part of Goldie Road, where a side entrance to the store is located. This alone saved the community more than $100,000.
But what about those small business owners who most would expect to be adversely affected by the superstore's presence in the community? According to township park administrator, June Smallwood, everyone is excited.
''Business owners want the store,'' Smallwood said, ''because the more people who come to Belmont Avenue, the better it will be for everyone."
This seems to be the sentiment, according to Jack Kravitz, owner of Kravitz Delicatessen, a 70-year-old business in the Youngstown and Liberty Township communities.
''Whenever I ask people how business is doing, they said, 'We're waiting for Wal-Mart,'" Kravitz said.
The delicatessen is celebrating its anniversary this year, and part of that celebration includes a special menu created for ''honoring the people and places of the Valley.'' In addition to sandwiches on that menu that were created by and named for some of the store's regular customers, customers can order a huge sandwich consisting of smoked turkey breast, lean eye of round roast beef, Muenster cheese and honey mustard. The sandwich's name?
''Waiting for Wal-Mart,'' of course.