Nobody writes a book by themselves, and many colleagues have assisted in the development of this work. I wish to thank Kent Sowards at Marshall University, for superb guidance and assistance with the data and Brie Salmons at Marshall University for overseeing the excellent map production. Kristy Wilburn, formerly of Marshall University, is guilty of pushing me into thinking about Wal-Mart. I wish to thank also Cal Kent at Marshall University, Mark Burton at the University of Tennessee and my colleagues at the Air Force Institute of Technology, especially Jeff Smith, for their insights, support and friendship through this process.
A number of fellow Wal-Mart researchers have helped me along the way, sometimes inadvertently. I wish to thank, in no particular order, Ken Stone, Richard Vedder, Emek Basker, Russell Sobel, Nicole Kazee, Kevin Brancato, Chris Holling and Arin Dube for sharing data and thoughts on these matters. My work has also benefited from more than a dozen anonymous referees, editors at seven journals, many members of the media and participants at the 2005 Global Insight Wal-Mart Conference.
I also wish to thank the very excellent editorial staff at Cambria Press. They have been tough taskmasters, but anytime you don’t find an error in this book it is entirely their fault.