Five radio stations in St. Louis are refusing Wal-Mart’s demand that they pull ads critical of the company’s labor practices. The ads, sponsored by the United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 655, discuss working conditions, wages, and lack of health care at Wal-Mart stores. Wal-Mart claims the ads are false and misleading, but the UFCW stands behind their accuracy. Continue reading
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Developers of a massive shopping center in Leominster, Massachusetts, claim the project will create 869 new jobs and boost the city’s property tax revenue by $400,000 annually.
But a study by a nationally recognized land use economist has found that the development will destroy about as many jobs as it creates and provide the city with only $51,000 in additional revenue. To put that into perspective, if the new revenue were used to cut residential property taxes, each of the city’s 17,000 households would save just $3 annually.
The town of Homer, Alaska, has capped retail store sizes at no more than 20,000 square feet in its central business district and 40,000 square feet in other commercial areas. The measure will remain in effect until the Planning Commission implements permanent regulations setting impact standards and size limits for large-scale retail, expected within six months. Continue reading
Three times as much money stays in the local economy when you buy goods and services from locally owned businesses instead of large chain stores, according to an analysis by the Institute for Local Self-Reliance and Friends of Midcoast Maine.
The study tracked the revenue and expenditures of eight locally owned businesses in the Maine towns of Rockland, Camden, and Belfast. The businesses—which represented a range of goods and services—collectively employed 62 people and had sales of $5.7 million in 2002.
San Francisco Board of Supervisors President Matt Gonzalez has introduced legislation requiring that neighbors be notified whenever a formula retail store or restaurant seeks to open in their neighborhood. Residents would have the option of requesting a public hearing and formal review by the Planning Commission. Continue reading
As big box stores and chain retailers consume more and more undeveloped land, polluted runoff from their parking lots is placing an ever greater burden on the nation’s rivers, lakes, and coastal waters. Storm water control measures and filtration systems produce only modest improvement, according to experts. A better solution is to channel commerce back into compact downtowns and neighborhood business districts, which are far less polluting. Continue reading
In an effort to prevent further consolidation of small storefronts into large chain outlets along the Third Street Promenade, the city of Santa Monica has adopted an ordinance that limits stores to no more than 50 linear feet of street frontage. The City Council has also directed city staff to compile data on the number of formula businesses in the district and draft options for limiting their proliferation.
"Secede from Starbucks Nation" is the tagline of a new advertising campaign by the small town of Excelsior, Minnesota. The tongue-and-cheek ads take jabs at chain stores and promote Excelsior as a place where one-of-a-kind, locally owned businesses are embraced.
By forming alliances, independent businesses can regain their central role in our economy. Continue reading
On July 15, citizens in Carbondale, Colorado, voted 57 to 43 percent to reject a 252,000-square-foot shopping center anchored by a Target store. The hotly debated referendum produced the largest election turnout in the town’s history.
Carbondale is a community of 5,200 people in the Roaring Fork Valley between Glenwood Springs and Aspen. Carbondale has a lively downtown of locally owned businesses, including hardware, book, and clothing stores.