What is the impact of Wal-Mart on small business America?
Wal-Mart is like all the small businesses in Ameirca put together in one store. I have seen much land around Wal-Marts projects be destriyed and built on, but the ability to support (as the dirt did many people and animals and wildlife) the transportation needs is forever failing. That decreases the ability to use the land to earn money and the lands ability to keep us breathing (allowing more population and more complaining). Other than that its easy to go to one store, they have great prices though!
Small business' cannot compete at all and it is an example of capitalism at its finest.
I don't know about the US but big supermarkets like TESCO and ASDA are destroying our culture of small town shops and village markets in the UK. I hate supermarkets. They are convenient and we all go to them but really, they are dreadful and aren't good for the farmers, or the local businesses or artisans.
Every community needs local commerce. When commerce is centralized to a few sources, it may save the consumer in their personal purchases, but it adds to their taxes that have to replace the tax revenue of many smaller businesses that disappear. Whereas you had many businesses supporting owners and managers, the big box stores pay usually a lesser wage and therefore average income can be reduced. The big box stores offer a mixed benefit to the community. Hero or Villain.....you decide.
It really depends. As rachellrobinson pointed out Wal-Mart can generate many opportunities for small businesses. A Wal-Mart can draw many consumers to small communities that would not otherwise be there. This can create opportunities for small businesses like restaurants and others to take advantage of the new flow of potential customers to an area. Wal-Mart also provides big opportunity for entrepreneurs to hit it big. If you have a new product that you are trying to get maximum exposure for, getting it on Wal-Mart shelves is like hitting a grand slam!
With that said, I also think there is a dark side to Wal-Mart's relationship to small business. Wal-Mart has used eminent domain laws to try and force small businesses out of their property. This is anti-small business, anti free market, and anti freedom. On top of this Wal-Mart has campained and lobbied for political causes that are very harmful to the small business owner. Nationalized Healthcare (Obamacare) and Cap-And-Trade (Green Agenda)are the two main ones that I know. Both of course place huge regulatory and cost burdens on small businesses.
Overall I think its a very mixed bag with Wal-Mart. I think they provide economic benefits for all (both consumers and small businesses) based on just their operations in the sphere of being a free market enterprise that thrives by just outcompeting their competitors. There is more to the Wal-Mart story though. They will do whatever it takes to enrich their business and continue to build their empire. This includes actions that go far beyond just healthy free market competition. Thats were I see Wal-Mart creating a negative environment for small businesses.
It seems to me that Wal-Mart does not just want to compete in the free-market, they want to rig the market in their favor!
Shopping is a chore. Imagine, with small children or restless teens in tow........going here for groceries, here for shoes, here for a water hose, over here for bird seed, across town for an auto battery, over here for a lawnmower wheel, oops, I forgot the paint at the hardware.....gotta go back............
Wal-Mart can, does meet each of these needs and more. One stop shopping......what a concept! A snack bar to entertain the older kids, have my oil changed while I select groceries, meanwhile my daughter is getting her hair cut, my son is making a deposit to his savings account.
They did appear as a retail saviour.........they appeared that way.
Early in my career, I worked for a wholesale industrial supply house. ( think bearings, belts, hoses, power transmission), I met a rep from Goodyear, who had once represented Coleman.
He shared with me the story of how Wal-Mart had so much buying power, that they now dictated to the manufacturer, how much they would pay for coolers. Over a time period, in an effort to make a product for WM, Coleman lessened the wall thickness of the cooler. Years later, my hubby and I actually tore apart several coolers from past years, and concluded this was true.
Stepping up from the garden center into the main store, I once fell.........at least 8 WM employess walked past me. I was not injured, needed no doctor, but was appalled, and asked to speak to management. I was told their employees are " trained" to behave this way........lest they been seen as "liable".
My hubby once joked, that he got paid on Friday, and I made my WM payment on Saturday. No more, not for 3 years.
I will pay for quality and service. Two things you are not likely to get at WM.
People trade all the things you CAN get for what you can't. Small and speciality businesses, such as hardware stores, paint stores, shoe store, auto repairs, grocers, bakeries.......etc........fall by the wayside. They can't afford to sell shoddy goods and services.
WM has mastered one stop shopping. Many, far too many, do not know of the quality they are sacrificing. Quality is worthy of its price.
I can no longer afford to support Wal-Mart.
It's really tough on small buisnesses. I don't think they can ever compete with Wal-Mart.
I think it changes the nature of small business as small business can no longer compete on price. That means small business needs to add value some other way, customization, service, quality, attention to detail etc. If you can survive today, you are going to be very strong by definition.
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