October 12, 2005

Belvidere, IL

Despite the worst fears of some, Wal-Mart's impact on Belvidere's retail community appears to have been most helpful.
Say that again? The Rockford Register Star notes this is an odd case. Successful new car dealerships, and a brand new shopping center cater to an increasing population. These folks don't shop downtown, though it's extremely unlikely that "Most of the people that have moved here don't even know there is a downtown." The article focuses on the Ace Hardware store that lost business, but didn't go under, because it refined its product mix. In other words, it chose to compete wisely:
"There is no way I can compete with Wal-Mart on some things," Rickabaugh said. "But we have expanded some things to make up for those areas we were having trouble in.

"We've kept the specialty stuff, boosted our circulars, and customers know service is our business. When Amtrak and other things take off downtown and the economy comes back completely, I think you'll see us take off. I just have to buy a little time to get there."

What about the downtown?
Downtown Belvidere is another animal. Turnover of small mom-and-pop stores is somewhat common, but thus far it appears that downtown has sustained minimal impact as a result of Wal-Mart.
That includes the small grocer...

Posted by Kevin on October, 12 2005 at 10:37 AM