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Kwik Trip not the end of the world after all

September 23, 2014 | 03:22 PM
Some people thought the sky would fall when the Kwik Trip moved to Lake Geneva.

There was a battle to keep them out. Now even the Shore Report, which initially campaigned against Kwik Trip, appears thankful they came.

The same battle against Kwik Trip now exists in Mukwonago, Saukville and Menominee Falls. They’re all fighting the inevitable.

“They’re the 800-pound gorilla and they want to become the 2-ton gorilla,” one man said.

The fact is everyone claims to hate Wal-Mart, too, but they go there to shop.

The reason: Price and selection.

Should a community fight against those two things?

In Lake Geneva, the two gas stations most jeopardized by Kwik Trip were small and dank and offered too few products.

Kwik Trip is better. Period.

The gas stations that were threatened by Kwik Trip’s arrival lost out to a bigger gorilla, that’s true. But if their service, product or tradition were superior maybe Kwik Trip wouldn’t have come here. And the city would be less for it.

True. Sometimes businesses — good businesses — are simply unable to withstand the onslaught.

That is unfortunate, but true.

But just as often, the best survive.

Bittner’s, Speedo’s Harborside Bar and Grill, Fleming’s, Dunn’s — local brands that have made their way with tradition, a better product or customer service.

Times change. Companies that don’t evolve and don’t improve, are sure to disappear like the dinosaurs.

Even the big boys often face the same fate. Most behemoth companies fade, get stuck in their ways, or lose their focus.

Witness K-Mart, Texaco, Polaroid, Zenith, Borders, the Sharper Image and Blockbuster.

I remember when Blockbuster was the big gorilla. It had a chance to buy Netflix when it was young. It didn’t. Bad business decision.

Polaroid was late in evolving its product.

K-Mart had shoddy stores.

Those brands were replaced usually by businesses that were much smaller or didn’t even exist when the big boys were big.

Even newspapers are failing because they were late in accepting the Internet, holding instead to the product they already had.

They should have understood they weren’t in the newspaper business. They were in the communications business.

They were perfectly positioned to become leaders in new media. Now, for most of them, it’s too late.

The oldest business in the U.S., Shirley Plantation survived even after slavery ended. White Horse Tavern traded on its history. So did Jim Beam and Remington, but none are making the same product the same way as they were. They changed with the times.

Maybe Kwik Trip’s day will come.

Maybe someday someone will make a better mousetrap.

And Kiwk-Trip will be begging to have the laws changed so it can remain in business.

Yet there’s always someone trying to stop the inevitable.

They think that newer isn’t better. If we all thought that, we’d still have blacksmith shops.

Halverson is editor and general manager of the Regional News.


Tags: Staff Editorial

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