In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, many of New Orleans’ locally owned businesses reopened within days of the floodwaters subsiding, while national chains kept their distance for months, even years. Now a new study finds that the city’s independent businesses are not only more resilient, but generate twice the economic impact of big-box retailers like Target, while consuming a fraction of the land. Continue reading
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About Stacy Mitchell
Stacy Mitchell is a senior researcher with the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, where she directs initiatives on independent business and community banking. She is the author of Big-Box Swindle and also produces a popular monthly newsletter, the Hometown Advantage Bulletin. Connect with her on twitter and catch her recent TEDx Talk: Why We Can’t Shop Our Way to a Better Economy. More
Today, in the New York Times small business blog, Robb Mandelbaum examines the membership of the National Federation of Independent Businesses has plummeted and takes a look at how the group has lobbied for tax loopholes that boost the profits of big chains, while forcing independent businesses to pay more.
So far, the public debate about cars and climate change has been dominated by fuel economy. But driving has been growing at such a rapid pace that even a big advance in fuel economy is likely to be wiped out by ever more miles on the road. This is where local stores come in. Dozens of studies have found that people who live near small stores walk more for errands and, when they do drive, their trips are shorter. Continue reading
A growing body of evidence suggests that public enthusiasm for all things local and independent is on the rise, providing locally owned businesses with a measure of insulation from the worst effects of the recession, even as some of their biggest competitors teeter and collapse. Continue reading
Michael Krasny’s Forum program on KQED, the NPR affiliate in Northern California, featured ILSR’s Stacy Mitchell as part of a panel discussion on the decline of shopping malls. Continue reading
In one of the more brazen attempts by a corporation to disguise itself as a locally owned business, Starbucks is un-branding at least three of it Seattle outlets. Continue reading
By keeping the focus of its sustainability efforts on suppliers, Wal-Mart continues to distract attention from the enormous — and growing — environmental impact of its own business model and operations. Continue reading
HSBC, one of the biggest banks on the planet, has taken to calling itself "the world’s local bank." Starbucks is un-branding at least three of its Seattle outlets, the first of which just reopened as "15th Avenue Coffee and Tea." The International Council of Shopping Centers is pouring millions of dollars into television ads urging people to "Shop Local" — at their nearest mall.
Hoping to capitalize on growing public enthusiasm for all things local, some of the world’s biggest corporations are brashly laying claim to the word “local.” Continue reading
Borders Books is on "death watch," according to one industry observer. Virgin shut down its last U.S. record store this month. Office Depot and Staples are struggling. Circuit City is gone. Best Buy has launched a desperate ad campaign.
While the decline of independent businesses has leveled off, the rest of the retail sector is undergoing dramatic consolidation as a small number of massive companies become ever more dominant. This is an ominous trend for manufacturers and consumers, and it exposes serious flaws in U.S. antitrust policy. Continue reading
Wal-Mart announced that it would create 22,000 new jobs in the U.S. to staff new and expanded stores. But, in all likelihood, Wal-Mart’s expansion will make the U.S. employment picture worse, not better. Continue reading