Big fish will eat little fish

We hope the Oak Harbor Kmart stays open. It has been an asset to the community, providing jobs and local shopping opportunities for people throughout Whidbey Island since it opened in the ‘80s.

However, the Kmart corporation last week declared bankruptcy. News reports say the company hopes to survive but will likely have to close hundreds of stores to do so. Will Oak Harbor be on the closure list? Nobody knows, but our Kmart appears to have suffered since Wal-Mart opened just down the street. Nationally, Wal-Mart is one of the reasons Kmart fell on hard times.

We should not forget, however, that when Kmart came to town it created its own impacts. Remember J.C. Penney? It was a nice clothing store, but the smaller Penneys stores all fell victim to increased competition it the ‘80s. Other Oak Harbor stores were also hurt by Kmart, which could sell clothing for less and won the merchandising war.

Then along came Wal-Mart, bigger even that Kmart, and again the smaller store is on the ropes. Its an old story in the free market economy. Sometimes you’re the big fish and sometimes you’re the little fish. It’s one of those sad facts of life that’s needed to keep the economy running productively and efficiently.

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