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K-Mart Manager Speaks Out Against Ellisville Walmart TIF

Fred Kamp said the city council was "afraid" of claims Wal-mart would not build in Ellisville without tax incentives for the project's developer.

Fred Kamp, store manager of in Ellisville, refuted claims that a new Walmart permitted by the Ellisville City Council to be built across the street would significantly hurt business, but objected to the council's decision to approve the project with tax incentives for its developer.

"It’s a free country and anyone can do business anywhere they want," Kamp said Thursday. "I just don’t agree with the TIF money."

The TIF or tax increment financing district will allow half of all new sales tax revenue generated beyond current values at the site to be put in a fund used by the Sansone Group, the project's developer, for a standard length of up to 23 years. The funds then are earmarked for surrounding infrastructure improvements.

Kamp said he could not predict the impact of a Walmart, saying it could help or hurt business.

“That’s a shot in the dark,” Kamp said. “We’ve had (Walmart) stores open around us in other areas where there’s been little or no impact, and then we’ve had Walmart stores open real near us and (lost) 20 to 30 percent,” Kamp said. “So we really don’t know until it happens.”

Editor's Note: To read what other local business owners and employees had to say about the Walmart project in Ellisville, .

Ellisville Mayor Adam Paul, and was one of two council members to oppose Walmart’s construction, has said Kmart would close if a Walmart gets built.

Kamp said he spoke to City Councilmember Matt Pirrello, who finished his second term as mayor in April, about the Walmart proposal, and while he understood the project’s appeal to the City Council, objected to Sansone Group’s claim that the project would not have happened without creating a TIF district.

“Anytime you get competition … it’s not something you want to have happen but you can’t stop it,” Kamp said. ”The only thing I didn’t like about it? If Walmart really wanted to put a store there, they’re going to put it there whether they got $15 million from the city or not. And the city didn’t seem to understand that. Those councilmen were afraid, I think.”

The project, which would create a Walmart Superstore southwest of Manchester and Kiefer Creek roads, did not receive the majority endorsement of the , which included representation from multiple local public bodies, including a city appointee, the Rockwood School District, St. Louis County and the county library. At that March meeting, principal developer Jim Sansone said a TIF was "vitally important" for the project and later said Walmart would not build without the use of a TIF.

“No matter what the developer says, they always tell you ‘Well they’re not going to go there if they don’t get (a TIF). But if they really want to put a store there, they’re going to do it. “

Kamp said the overall impact on sales revenues for a store like his would probably suffer the first month a major competitor locates nearby before sales would rebound. Although no timeline for the project has been made public, Sansone said the company would like to break ground this year.

“As soon as they open and have their grand opening, you’re going to feel the impact immediately, but after about the first three weeks, it should ease up,” Kamp said. “But what the long-term impact is, I don’t know.”

Kamp said a possible decrease in sales probably will not result in significant staffing reductions.

“I don’t think it will be a lot,” Kamp said. “I think it will be minimal.”

Kamp noted that because of the area’s geographic makeup and the store’s occasional seasonal employment of younger staff, there usually is some degree of turnover year round.

“We have continual part time openings.”

Chase Castle May 11, 2012 at 08:49 PM
No need to yell, K James. I'm not sure I see the connection to Kmart, but I think everyone understands the urgency of a good BBQ ;) http://patch.com/E-lZ4H Hope to see some of you there!
David May 13, 2012 at 02:54 AM
The first few post were in regard to this story, and the last half dozen were really stupid and should be removed. Very uneducated individuals with no sense, grow up.
Rod May 17, 2012 at 08:12 PM
It's about the TIF, Wal-Mart has plenty of money. Ellisville Ball Park, Froesel oil, Ed's Lawn & Garden and Ellisville Supply were on the K-Mart property many years ago. I will stick with K-Mart and Dierberghs.
K James May 17, 2012 at 08:21 PM
Rod; You do know that the TIF isn't for walmart. Walmart isn't buying anything. The Sansone group cannot develop the site, without the TIF. Walmart will be renting/leasing from Sansone. So maybe we could convince the owners to sell their properties for less, and the o owners of the old car dealerships would sell for less, and if the site would cost less to even out, then perhaps Sansone group could come back with a plan that doesn't include the TiF.
CSloan May 17, 2012 at 09:27 PM
It's okay if you didn't know, Rod. A lot of people are unfamiliar with the plight of the indigent Sansones.
E. Schmidt May 17, 2012 at 10:00 PM
C Sloan- >>>It's okay if you didn't know, Rod. A lot of people are unfamiliar with the plight of the indigent Sansones.<<< Since the Sansone Group is a private developer we'll never know, but I understand they are indigent to the tune of 20-50 MILLION in revenues per year on average. Do you have different or better numbers?
K James May 17, 2012 at 10:33 PM
Liz,you need to make up your mind who you hate more... is it the Sansone Group, is it Walmart, is it TIF, is it retail in general? You seem to put a lot of effort into hating people that have anything. Perhaps the Sansone group does have between 20-50 million in revenues annually, but they also might have 60 million in debt. YOU DON'T KNOW, they said they COULD NOT do the Ellisville project and would walk away if they didn't have that assistance.
E. Schmidt May 17, 2012 at 11:24 PM
K James I can object to all three things in various amounts on any given day if choose. I admire businesses and business people who don't come looking for a taxpayer hand out or bail out. Outrage and disgust is not "hate." I don't believe everything I'm told by anyone or any group when it comes to politics and money. It's all part of being a critical thinker...AIM HIGHER
CSloan May 18, 2012 at 02:09 AM
I don't know, E Schmidt, other than the random tidbit about trying to purchase hockey teams, etc. It's actually not their personal wealth that troubles me, and I can't even fault them for taking this sweet deal. I'd take that all day. What I can't abide is the Henny Penny notion that this was *the* deal, and had they not come in on their white horses no one *ever* would have found the enthusiasm or the means to develop this gigantic piece of property on a major road in an affluent suburb. I will be curious, down the road, to see whether or not any of the relationships forged during this tireless work result in any dividends for the parties involved. You know, other than the prospect of having a Walmart really! close! to! home! I've never seen such breathless passion about $4 t shirts.
K James May 18, 2012 at 02:40 AM
Oh Liz your wit is indeed entertaining, aiming higher I am assuming to my comments about making retail a profession not a supplemental / parttime./ collegiate job. Took you awhile to work that one in, but nicely placed.
CSloan May 18, 2012 at 02:47 AM
*I should add, found the means to develop this gigantic piece of property on a major road in an affluent suburb with far more consideration for the 100 homes sitting on in and the people inside them.
E. Schmidt May 18, 2012 at 11:38 AM
C Sloan-- >>>You know, other than the prospect of having a Walmart really! close! to! home! I've never seen such breathless passion about $4 t shirts.<<< (You are too funny.) . $4T shirts??? I think it's the $2 bath towels and $3 waffle irons at a Wal-Mart Thanksgiving Door Buster Sale...AND... the bonus of getting trampled to death in the process that makes people want to see this deal go through. I'm sticking with KMart...good deals on nice things and a fine manager. The staff is helpful too...and no shopper has died at a KMart in recent memory...but an old guy on a rascal scooter did nearly take me out when he made a sharp left at an end cap one day,
K James May 18, 2012 at 12:18 PM
Liz. The waffle irons were $10 . Get your facts straight.
E. Schmidt May 18, 2012 at 01:17 PM
K James-- This entry says the waffle irons were $2.84...The press rounded up to $3. Other reports related to the violence at the Wal-Mart stores in 2011 give the $3 amount as well. http://madeheremadewell.com/journal/category/american-manufacturing Odd that you have fixated on the cost of the $3 (or $10) waffle iron, but have failed to comment at all on Wal-Mart's 90 MILLION dollar theft of wages from Missouri workers...a figure firmly set in court documents. I guess we now know what you really care about...access to cheap junk at the expense of hardworking employees. AIM HIGHER.
CSloan May 18, 2012 at 01:18 PM
Why thank you, you're pretty funny yourself:) Looks like that's confirmed above, although perhaps from a somewhat dubious source. I hope it stays light, but I just can't fight these nagging red flags questioning how such an imperfect, relatively unpopular deal just *had* to go through or people would, like, die. Let's just say I won't fall off my chair and expire if we learn that a few extra handshakes went around the table.
E. Schmidt May 18, 2012 at 02:11 PM
C Sloan-- >>>Let's just say I won't fall off my chair and expire if we learn that a few extra handshakes went around the table.<<< Yes. Just about nothing surprises me anymore where politics and money are concerned. I always work from the premise that electeds make bone-headed decisions against the wishes of a near super-majority because they are in fact boneheads...and then go from there. Like one of my heroes says,..."Stupid is as stupid does." Sometimes, it's just that simple.
E. Schmidt May 18, 2012 at 03:00 PM
C Sloan-- Speaking of falling off your chair, this made me spit coffee on my keyboard and almost start crying. http://ballwin-ellisville.patch.com/articles/ellisville-to-prepare-for-zombie-apocalypse I know you'll appreciate it. Please come by ellisvilleA9A@yahoo.com and say hello.
CSloan May 18, 2012 at 03:34 PM
:) Well done Chase. I have a deeper respect for the Red Cross now too. Can we just nominate Ruby to handle traffic control in her new neighborhood too? I sincerely doubt anyone will mess with a woman who carries stock like that.
E. Schmidt May 18, 2012 at 03:46 PM
We don't need a Wal-Mart. Mom and Pops like Ruby are great and just what we need!
K James May 18, 2012 at 06:23 PM
Liz; This is what I care about. I care about Ellisville thriving and surviving into the future, I care about making enough money to support my family in a tough economy. I care about figuring out the best way to use my income to buy the things my family needs to live. As a single parent of three college age students, I care that they have the ability to AIM HIGHER. So to answer your question Liz, I do not care about a $10 waffle maker, but I do care that you spew your venom unchecked and think that you have the answers. It must get lonely living in your world Liz, who could ever be good enough?
K James May 18, 2012 at 06:26 PM
Liz; Somehow I knew that Forest Gump would be one of your heros
Rod May 18, 2012 at 08:01 PM
All they had to do was put it on the ballot,TIF yes or no, and it would be over.
E. Schmidt May 19, 2012 at 01:37 PM
K James Forrest Gump, the novel and the movie, are great pieces of Americana. >>>In 2011, the Library of Congress selected Forrest Gump for preservation in the United States National Film Registry as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant."<<< The main character is given to plain spoken simple truth. I don’t know why you would find that objectionable or think that is somehow an insult directed at me. “Stupid is as Stupid does,” is just another way of saying -- Matthew 7:16-20 (King James Version). (I am not given to quoting scripture except for literary purposes.) You can get a copy of the movie Forrest Gump from our own Ellisville Kmart or Kmart.com I’m certain. Watch it again if you haven’t seen it lately. If you don’t admire the main character, look at it a bit differently. I used it as a history lesson for my son. The novel is a bit harder to find and I know you don’t much like to read things.
K James May 19, 2012 at 02:12 PM
Liz you snide carpy, I was giving you a compliment. Forest Gump is singleminded in his life, focused. Your hatefulness gets the best of you.
E. Schmidt May 19, 2012 at 02:21 PM
K James, You'll have to forgive me for failing to imagine that you would ever pay me a compliment...left-handed or otherwise.
Michael Rhodes May 19, 2012 at 02:57 PM
Completely off topic here. I just couldn't pass this up. Tom Hanks is one (if not my favorite) actor. The qoute was spoken by a fictional character, so it really should be attributed to the author of the book. Now my all time favorite movie line/quote: "What's the matter Colonel Sanders? Chicken?" Lord Helmet (Rick Moranis) from Space balls. Laughing as I write this!
K James May 19, 2012 at 11:15 PM
Liz; It was not a lefthanded compliment. It is also a favorite movie of mine, and I see the determination in you that is all. It is just hard on this thing to show emotional intent when offered. I have several times, even with you calling me names, that I admire your tenacity on this topic.
K James May 19, 2012 at 11:20 PM
We don't see eye to eye on this issue, that is a fact. None the less, the way you see things is just different from mine, no better no worse, just different. I have lots of friends on both sides of this issue, and at no point do we call eachother names while discussing the topic. I know this is a hard thought, but you can disagree and have discussion without 'declaring world war 3' as mayor put it on the radio this week.
E. Schmidt May 20, 2012 at 11:27 AM
K James- I find the constant claims re: "the politics of personal destruction" and "name calling" to be full of hyperbole. Here's a hint-- If you need a dictionary, I didn't call you a "name." If and when I decide to call you a "name," you won't have to go to the OED to find the definition. It will be more than evident. Example: "snide carpy" from your comment above. No need to go to a dictionary for that.
E. Schmidt May 20, 2012 at 03:43 PM
Agreed Rod. Unfortunately, the City Council isn't required by law to do that. When they were bombarded with overwhelming negative response to the Sansone Wal-Mart TIF the simply and conveniently ignored it and voted "Yes" on May 2nd at the final reading. Of course they have 30 days to reverse themselves...

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