Walmart Brings Big Business

(KHNL)  With mega retailer Walmart planning a new store in Kapolei, there's once again talk of how it will affect the smaller "mom and pop" type stores.

But is Walmart really the big, bad bully many make it out to be?

The company announced plans to offer cash grants to stores near some new locations to help its small rivals stay afloat.

Steven Xiao manages a small ramen shop that just opened a few months ago.

The restaurant is across from Walmart on Keeaumoku Street.

Xiao knew the retail giant's reputation well.

"In terms of retail, yeah, I think they're much bigger, they have more money, they're more competitive and they're eating small ones up," said Xiao.

But he says he doesn't see Walmart as a threat.

"I'm not too worried, competition is always around in this Keeaumoku area," Xiao added.

A few doors down, Joey Peralta is a manager at Elite Electronics that sells everything from car stereos to big screen televisions.

The says business actually improved once Walmart came into town.

"We did get busier, traffic from street, and I'm getting a lot of customers we didn't know you were here," Peralta said.

He says the store lost some customers interested in the lower end merchandise, but gained customers wanting to buy more expensive products.

Peralta says it's the survival of the fittest and that bigger isn't always better.

"They would go in there naturally expecting the best price, shop around then come over here, hey, right across the street," he said. "They come here and then see for a couple dollars more I can get these features and one on one contact."

As for Walmart's interest in building another store in Kapolei.

The idea has been met by opposition.

Residents have complained the store will bring too much traffic.

Walmart says it plans to wait until improvements are made to the roadways.