More than 40 percent of the towns surveyed for a new report by the London-based New Economics Foundation are so overrun by chain stores that they have lost their local identity and become little more than "clone towns." Continue reading
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Grassroots groups that form to fight big-box development proposals often dissolve after winning or losing on that particular project. But a citizens group in Charlevoix, Michigan, called This is Our Town, kept on working. Now, one year after successfully pressuring Wal-Mart to drop plans for a supercenter, the group is celebrating new zoning rules that will limit future big-box development. Continue reading
This 8-minute story on Minnesota Public Radio looks at how some Twin Cities area small business owners are banding together to promote shopping at local, independently-owned stores. Includes an interview with ILSR’s Stacy Mitchell. Continue reading
The entry of Wal-Mart into New York City is the biggest challenge to neighborhood businesses and local communities in our city’s history, contends the Neighborhood Retail Alliance, which has been an advocate for New York City’s locally owned businesses for the past twenty years. Continue reading
The National Trust for Historic Preservation has presented its 2005 Main Street Civic Leadership Award to the New Rules Project, a program of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR). The award recognizes outstanding contributions to the commercial district revitalization movement by an organization or individual working in the public policy arena. Continue reading
At the request of independent movie theaters across the state, California Attorney General Bill Lockyer is investigating claims that major movie theater chains use their clout with distributors to prevent independent theaters from showing many of the most popular first-run films. At issue is a common industry practice called clearance, whereby theaters are given exclusive rights to show a film within a certain radius around their theaters. Continue reading
Voters in San Luis Obispo, California, have defeated a 650,000-square-foot big-box shopping center.
The Marketplace project, which included a Target, Lowe’s, Whole Foods, Old Navy, Circuit City, and several other chains, was to be built on 130 acres of prime farmland at the gateway to the city. San Luis Obispo has a population of 45,000 and is located about halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles.
Wal-Mart and an Ohio developer spent heavily and attacked opponents as wealthy elites in a successful campaign to overturn a new law governing large-scale retail stores in the town of Bennington, Vermont. The local ordinance capped retail stores at 75,000 square feet (about one-and-a-half football fields) and required proposals for stores over 30,000 square to pass a community impact review. It was enacted unanimously by the town’s select board in January after three years of extensive review, public meetings and deliberations. Continue reading
Three Philadelphia City Councilors—David Cohen, Richard Mariano and Frank DiCicco—have introduced an ordinance that would bar "predatory superstores" from locating within the city. The ordinance defines predatory superstores as any store over 180,000 square feet or any store over 90,000 square feet that devotes more than 10 percent of its floor space to nontaxable grocery items. Continue reading
Both chambers of the Maryland legislature have approved a bill that would require Wal-Mart to spend more on employee health insurance. The legislation applies to companies with more than 10,000 employees in the state that do not already spend at least eight percent of their payroll on health benefits. Continue reading