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The Los Angeles Times reports this morning that because of the four-month-old Southern California supermarket strike - affecting 70,000 employees at the region's three major chains - an influx of Anglo-American shoppers is going to historically ethnic stores.

While the shift in sales to smaller companies is building their bottom lines (allowing some to retire much of their debt, which puts them in a better long-term competitive position), it also presents the ethnic supermarkets with a challenge - to get a little more mainstream.

In some cases, that means remodeling stories and adjusting product selection. In others, it means changing the background music played in-store, or the uniforms worn by checkers.

And the challenge is by no means over. While the big three chains - Kroger's Ralphs, Safeway's Vons, and Albertsons - have lost more a billion dollars combined since the strike began, at some point the strike will end, and the ethnic stores will then be forced to try and retain those customers.
KC's View:
And, of course, the smaller ethnic stores will have to deal with an influx of Wal-Mart Supercenters.

One hopes, if only for sake of diversity, that this opportunity will allow for more stores to be more competitive. Which will be good for consumers.