When Wal-Mart first came to Viroqua, Wisconsin with a discount store in 1986, 7 small businesses on Main Street went under in the first six months the Wal-Mart was open. Now Wal-Mart has opened up a supercenter in Viroqua, and local stores like the Jubilee grocery wonder just how much longer they have to survive. According to Iowa State University economist, in the first three years after a Wal-Mart supercenter opens, existing grocery stores lose as much as 18% of their sales, and competitors like pharmacies can lose even more. At the Viroqua Jubilee grocery store recently, two Wal-Mart employees were recently arrested for stealing price signs from the Jubilee, according to a report from the Associated Press. The signs in the Jubilee read: “Wal-Mart doesn’t have this item.” Apparently the Wal-Mart workers didn’t like the signs, and decided to engage in a little anti-competitive activity of their own:ripping down Jubilee’s signs.
Final twist of irony: The manager at the Jubilee store told reporters that people did not show anger at the Wal-Mart employees for destroying Jubilee’s private property, but instead several customers complained that Jubilee’s was “picking on Wal-Mart.”