Here’s a little ‘bedtime for businesss” story from the San Mateo, CA. County Times newspaper, about how Wal-Mart helped some local businesses say good night to the community. “Union City had a small auto parts store for 25 years,” the story begins. “But about eight months after Wal-Mart — with a huge selection of cheap auto supplies and parts — opened there in 1994, the auto parts store went out of business. So did the city’s hardware store…Union City Deputy City Manager Susan McCue said she doesn’t think that the city’s five year old Wal-Mart has had a big effect on the city’s small businesses. ‘We have no standard downtown shopping district, which is typically what (Wal-Mart) has an impact on,’ McCue said. The city instead has a series of neighborhood strip malls. But some Union City merchants see things differently. Union City’s Wal-Mart has been ranked the third-largest grossing Wal-Mart stores in the nation, and a mall containing a 25 screen movie complex, an Office Max, and chain restaurant is springing up around it. But just down Dyer Street, a cluster of strip malls bear wind-blown signs advertising vacancies. ‘The auto parts store went out of business. The hardware store went out of business. Lucky’s (grocery) moved next to Wal-Mart, and that shopping center is emtpy. It’s a domino effect, it seems like,’ said Jeff Grmoja, as he rang up customers at the Quick Stop Convenience store at the corner of Alvarado Boulevard and Dyer Street. Downtown businesses in San Leandro (CA) are also feeling the pinch, one business owner said. Since the city opened its Wal-Mart store in April, jewelry store owner Larry Allphin has seen $50 to $200 a day in retail sales disappear, a significant chunk of his business. Wal-Mart, he said, is the biggest jewelry retailer in the country.”
Got a story from your hometown about the strange “disappearance” of local businesses after Wal-Mart arrives. Is your pharmacist now selling tropical fish? Email your stories to [email protected], and maybe your story will appear in our anthology: Good Night, Wal-Mart!