Barb O'Malley-Wikstrom: "Couldn't compete with Wal-Mart"
I have a lot of respect for anyone who decides to invest a little bit of money into a new business that they have a heartfelt desire to become a reality. For those people who opened low-carb stores to help those of us who are livin' la vida low-carb, I tip my hat to you for your entrepreneurial spirit and applaud you for having the knowledge and foresight to get in on something special.
But, as in every business, there are downturns that inevitably occur for various reasons and some of these low-carb stores have seen a drop in their sales in recent months. I'm sure it couldn't have anything to do with the daily barrage of negative attacks on Atkins and low-carb in general by the media. Oh heavens no!
Case in point: This The Coloradoan story about the soon-to-be closed Low Carb Gourmet Market store in Fort Collin, Colorado, which is owned and operated by a woman named Barb O'Malley-Wikstrom, details her struggle to make a profit after only being open since March 2004.
The article says this is happening because of "the demise of the low-carb trend across the United States."
Let me say it very clearly for the whole media to hear: There's no "demise of the low-carb trend" in this country. In fact, just the opposite is true as the low-carb lifestyle is stronger than it has ever been.
The latest Opinion Dynamics Corp. survey found that 12-15 percent of Americans are following a low-carb lifestyle in 2005, making it even more popular than American Idol was this past season.
Interestingly, this news story cites very old data from Carbwire that shows those who are livin' la vida low-carb has dropped to 3 percent. However, if you will look at the graph by Opinion Dynamics Corp., the percentage of people following a low-carb program has remained steady around 11 percent since December 2003 with only a minor dip down to 6 percent at the end of last year. It has NEVER been as low as 3 percent as this story suggests. This is yet another of the many lies that the media likes to often repeat to spread their anti-Atkins agenda.
O'Malley-Wikstrom claims in the article that part of the reason she is having to close her doors for good is because she "couldn't compete with Wal-Mart." Well, there's one of her problems. If she's trying to compete with the world's largest retail company, then she is bound to fail. But effective small business owners know how to find their own niche and cater to customers in ways that Wal-Mart could only dream of doing.
Let me share with you a personal example.
I have a friend in Toledo, Ohio who owns her own low-carb business called "Lindy's Low-Carb Market" and it is doing remarkably well for her. Would you like to know why it is such a success? For starters, Lindy is an innovator and is constantly seeking to fill the void where Wal-Mart and other traditional retail stores have let down the low-carb consumer. She personally tries every product she puts on her shelves to make sure it passes the low-carb taste test and is constantly looking for new products to stock.
The reason O'Malley-Wikstrom saw her business decline is because she must have lost her passion for meeting the needs of the low-carb community with new and exciting products that people want and can't get anywhere else. Now is not the time to give up on low-carb stores with so many people choosing this healthy lifestyle for weight loss and weight maintenance!
If all you carry are products that can be purchased at Wal-Mart, then you can't expect to turn a profit. However, if you can carry ZERO carb breads that taste out-of-this-world delicious as well as excellent low-carb versions of your favorite foods, then you can make a low-carb store not only survive, but thrive!
As most good companies these days have done, you have to expand your business beyond the walls of your brick and mortar store. You have to be on the Internet to reach a whole new world of shoppers who are looking for what you have for them.
The low-carb industry is no different and my friend Lindy knew that, too. She created KickTheCarbz.com as an eye-catching way to attract those customers who don't have a low-carb store in their area.
I would like to invite the old customers of the Low Carb Gourmet Market in Fort Collins, Colorado to check out what Lindy has in her online store that they might want to get to fill that low-carb void in their cupboard! It's a shame that we can't have more people like Lindy in towns all across America showcasing the wide array of low-carb products that you can't find in Wal-Mart or your local grocery store.
If you have a low-carb store and want to share your information with my readers, then please feel free to leave the name of your store, the city/state you are located in, a contact telephone number and a web site address if you have one in the comments section below.