If you live on the North Oregon coast, it’s likely the word that Wal-Mart will be opening its first regional store is no big surprise. Local business leaders are planning a workshop called Weathering Wal-Mart to help assuage fears and give local businesses marketing and other advice to help them survive, or even thrive, alongside the new big box store.
That’s something Randy Dennis knows a lot about. He owns a chain of five hardware stores in Washington. The last one to open was in Aberdeen, now home to a Wal-Mart and a Home Depot. He says he keeps his prices competitive with those big box retailers but his focus is on the relationship with customers. He gives his employees extra training to make their service the best it can be, and he says he rewards good ideas — like the one his employee had to give a “customer of the month” award.
Nonetheless, some business owners on the North Coast are worried about their ability to stay afloat, especially in the down economy.
Are you a small business owner in the Warrenton area? Or in Cornelius, where another Wal-Mart is about to break ground? Are you concerned about losing sales and customers to Wal-Mart? Do you shop at other chain stores on the North Coast? How will Wal-Mart change your shopping habits?
- Tim Gannaway: Co-owner of Gannaway Bros. Jewelers
- Randy Dennis: Owner of Dennis Company
- Bill Wertz: Spokeman for Wal-Mart
- Laura Snyder: Owner of Lucy’s Books
Special note: Online host Dave Miller and producer Rebecca Robinson will be at the Serendipity Deli Caffe and Catering at 160 South Main Avenue in Warrenton from 8-10 a.m. to talk with local shoppers and business owners. Come on down!