Officials of Oaxaca, Mexico, have turned down an application by McDonald’s to open an outlet in a 500-year-old plaza at the center of town. "There are values that we have to preserve, such as our traditions and culture," city leader Gabino Cue Monteagudo said. A local ordinance allows local officials to reject development projects that endanger the city’s cultural heritage. Continue reading
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Local Retailers Can’t Grow in the Shadows of Supercenters By Stacy Mitchell Originally Published in the Duluth News Tribune, November 17, 2002 Big box retailers are rapidly rolling out stores throughout Minnesota. Wal-Mart and Target are leading the pack with plans to build hundreds of new “supercenters” nationwide. These giant 200,000-square-foot stores are twice the… Continue reading
A coalition of consumer groups, unions, independent banks, credit unions, and realtors managed a legislative feat in California last month when they pushed through an 11th hour bill to block Wal-Mart’s attempt to acquire a small bank.
Wal-Mart filed an application with state regulators in April to buy Franklin Bank of California, an industrial bank with $2.5 million in assets and three employees in Orange County. The new law prohibits non-financial firms from buying state-chartered banks.
Residents of Oaxaca, a city in southern Mexico, are handing out free tamales by the thousands in an effort to stop a McDonald’s from opening in a 500-year-old plaza at the center of town. News of the company’s plans surfaced in May. Since then, opponents have been holding rallies with free food to highlight the importance of local cuisine and build opposition to the McDonald’s.
Citizens and community organizations in New Zealand are beginning to take action to curb the spread of chain stores and big box retailers. "The big box phenomena has had a huge impact," says Warren Snow of Envision New Zealand, a community development company. "In the same way that Wal-Mart has decimated the main streets of America, New Zealand towns and suburbs are also buckling under the might of big box retailers."
Citizens in Eureka, California, recently attended the third in a series of public meetings aimed at drafting an ordinance that would require big box development proposals to pass a comprehensive economic impact review before being allowed to build.
"We’re trying to create a livable, walkable city," said City Councilor Chris Kerrigan, who introduced the ordinance in April. "We’ve spent millions and more than a decade trying to turn our downtown around.
Two California cities have adopted ordinances that prohibit "supercenters"—massive 200,000-square-foot stores operated by Wal-Mart, Target, and Kmart that combine general merchandise with a full supermarket and numerous specialty services like florists and gas stations.
In October, the Inglewood City Council voted 4-1 to bar stores over 155,000 square feet that sell more than 20,000 nontaxable items, such as food and pharmacy products. Inglewood has a population of 113,000 and is located in Los Angeles County.
In October, the Maine Department of Human Services released its third annual survey of prescription prices for fifteen common drugs at 106 independent and chain pharmacies statewide. The ten lowest priced pharmacies (based on the cost of all fifteen drugs combined) were all locally owned drugstores. National chains, including Rite Aid, CVS, and Brooks, had among the highest overall costs. Continue reading
A broad coalition has coalesced in Puerto Rico to block an attempt by Wal-Mart to buy Supermercados Amigo, the island’s largest supermarket chain. The deal would give the retailer, which already has $1.16 billion in sales at 19 Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club stores, a 40 percent share of Puerto Rico’s grocery sales.
The number of businesses belonging to purchasing cooperatives has doubled in the last ten years, to about 50,000, according to Paul Hazen of the National Cooperative Business Association. In the hardware and grocery sectors, long-established co-ops like Ace Hardware, have provided an essential line of defense against large chains and made the difference between survival and failure for countless independent merchants. The co-op model is now spreading to other retail sectors.