Small Businesses Brace For Possible Competition With New Wal-Mart Supercenter

Employees at the Eagle Express Convenience Store in Pass Christian know just about every customer that walks through the door. Store Supervisor Kitsaa Stevens said "They know what my customers drink, smoke, what their favorite candy is".

Eagle Express once enjoyed the luxury of being the only convenience store between the Long Beach and Pass Christian Harbors. Now, the new Wal-Mart Supercenter is opening just two blocks away. But, Eagle Express isn't doing anything different to compete with the huge store.

Stevens said "We just offer the same service, consistency, friendliness at all our locations to keep a customer or a clientele base coming in to the store. So far, it's worked real good".

Russell's Service Center isn't worried about losing customers to Wal-Mart either. Alice Russell is the co-owner. She said "We don't think it's going to affect us a great deal. We feel like our customers come to us for who we are, and for the attention that we give and the kind of service that they get".

The business hopes that bond with their customers will keep them coming back. Russell said "We cannot compete with a giant. There's no way a little individual service station can. So, we don't panic. We just continue to do what we have done for 25 years, and that's take care of our customers in a personal way".

The small businesses say it will take about two weeks to determine if the new Wal-Mart Supercenter will have any direct impact on them. Wal-Mart celebrates its grand opening Wednesday morning at 7:30.