Wal-Mart is such a dominating force that when it enters a market, few rivals are left unscathed. But in the tiny town of Emo, Ont. – population, 1,186 – grocers Dan and Mark Loney found a formula for their store to take on the discount titan.
And they’re doing it with Wal-Mart’s own products.
A few years ago, Wal-Mart Canada Corp. set up shop in nearby Fort Frances, Ont., forcing the brothers to come up with a new game plan. Emo sits on the U.S. border, so they began crossing regularly to pick up bargain-priced merchandise to stock in their store. They do most of their U.S. bulk buying at Sam’s Club, the warehouse chain owned by Wal-Mart Stores Inc.
They don’t stop at that. They post signs on the shelves of their Cloverleaf Grocery touting their prices as lower than Wal-Mart’s.
But the Loneys’ aggressive resourcefulness has hit a nerve. On Monday, they received a letter from a lawyer for Wal-Mart, telling them to stop using Wal-Mart’s trademarks in their advertising. Otherwise they risked a legal spat.