Nate Leader, the Oneonta Walmart Store Manager, has issued the following response to an opinion piece that ran Sept. 20 regarding Walmart's ad placement in the 'Shop Local -- Save Local' coupon book that went out to Oneonta residents.

To the Editor:

I am writing in response to Daniel Cassavaugh’s opinion piece last week where he claims that Walmart “undercuts” local businesses.

Mr. Cassavaugh took aim at the Oneonta Walmart (where I am the store manager) for buying ad space in a “Shop-Local – Save Local” coupon pack to promote our price match program. The price match program reinforces the store’s commitment to providing low prices every day, without the use of gimmicks. To back up our price leadership promise, we will match the price of any local competitor’s printed ad for an identical product right at the register.

This policy offers the consumer the best pricing options and the best shopping experience, since they don’t have to bounce from store to store to get individual savings.

It’s also important to note that price matching is common practice. Many other large retailers in the Oneonta area, including Sears, Home Depot, Lowes, and JC Penny’s, offer similar price match programs. That’s the way the marketplace works. Why wouldn’t Walmart try to gain the competitive edge?

I also disagree with Mr. Cassavaugh’s claim that Walmart is not local. We are members of the local Chamber of Commerce and I am on the board of the local Salvation Army. We donate more than $14,000 to local charities each year and employ more than 350 local residents.

Our store is also good community neighbor. Last year when there was a fire in the dorms at SUNY Oneonta, we donated gift cards to all the students residing in those dorms.

You can’t get anymore local than that.

Nate Leader
Oneonta Walmart Store Manager