Competing With WalMart – Extreme Differentiation

If you have to go head to head with one of the most efficient companies in the world, what can you do? Jim Bonaminio's strategy is to be odd.

James O. Bonaminio is an independent grocer with a capital "I." Today, if the mood strikes, Bonaminio might put on his wizard suit and roller-skate through his Jungle Jim's International Market performing "price magic." Or perhaps he'll go off "junking" for a few hours, returning with a ton or two of bargain-priced salvage that he eventually will incorporate into his sprawling, 280,000-square-foot supermarket in Fairfield, Ohio — just like he did with the animatronic Robin Hood, the 40,000 blocks of wood extracted from highway guardrails, and the monorail recycled from an amusement-park ride.

When you are in a market that is dominated by a clear leader, one of the best strategies is to be everything that the leader isn't.