Borders Books & Music has abandoned plans to build a superstore on the corner of Sixth and Lamar in downtown Austin, Texas. A community organization, Livable City, had joined local business owners in fighting the development, which was to be built across the street from two long-standing independent stores, BookPeople and Waterloo Records. The city had set aside $2.1 million in public subsidies for the project.
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Banff, like many communities in western Canada, is facing a growing influx of multinational chains. Determined to save their community from becoming"Anyplace, North America," Banff officials are investigating ways to buck the chain store trend. Luckily, they are not in uncharted territory. Communities across the continent have devised effective strategies for limiting chains and nurturing locally owned businesses. Continue reading
Saving Banff by Stacy Mitchell originally published in Calgary Herald, June 27, 2003 Banff, like many communities in western Canada, is facing a growing influx of multinational chains ["Banff fears 'corporate branding' of resort"]. Stores like The Gap and Starbucks are multiplying rapidly, undermining the unique character of this lovely mountain town and displacing locally… Continue reading
In February, the city of Bozeman, Montana, enacted an ordinance limiting retail stores to no more than 75,000 square feet. The measure makes permanent a temporary moratorium on construction of large retail stores in place for the past year.
The ordinance was approved by a 3-2 vote of the City Commission and took effect on March 21.
In March, British officials launched an inquiry to examine the competitive impacts of a merger between two of the country’s top supermarket chains. The findings could derail attempts by Britain’s top three and number five chains—Tesco, Sainsbury, Wal-Mart-owned Asda, and Morrison—to purchase the fourth largest grocery chain, Safeway. Continue reading
Cheers greeted the Taos, New Mexico, Town Council last month when members voted 3-2 to reject a proposal to allow construction of retail stores as large as 200,000 square feet. The vote reaffirms an ordinance adopted in 1999 that prohibits stores over 80,000 square feet.
The issue has been hotly debated in this community of 7,000 for more than three months. It began when a handful of residents organized under the banner La Gente ("the people") and petitioned the Town Council to lift the store size limit.
After a ten-month investigation of Wal-Mart, Mexican antitrust officials have imposed a code of conduct on the company and other large supermarket chains.
The Mexican Federal Competition Commission (CFC) launched the investigation last May to determine whether Wal-Mart was using its market power to pressure suppliers into providing prices substantially lower than those available to other retailers (after accounting for reasonable volume discounts).
Wal-Mart wants to build a 150,000-square-foot supercenter in Upper Hanover Township, a rural corner of Pennsylvania about one hour northwest of Philadelphia. The supercenter would anchor a large shopping complex, including twin strip malls on opposite sides of the highway.
Two years ago, Wal-Mart would have needed no more than an okay from Upper Hanover officials to proceed.
Small business owners are crying foul over an agreement reached between the Puerto Rican government and Wal-Mart. The deal allows Wal-Mart to proceed with its purchase of an island supermarket chain, which will give it control of 40 percent of Puerto Rico’s grocery sales.
Last year Wal-Mart won approval from the Federal Trade Commission to purchase the Amigo supermarket chain. Puerto Rican officials said the deal violated local antitrust laws and sued to block the merger.
In Missouri, a coalition of independent businesses and union members are backing a bill that would reform the state’s tax increment financing (TIF) law and put an end to subsidies for suburban big box stores, shopping malls, and other sprawling developments.
TIF allows a municipality to issue bonds to pay for part of the costs of a new development. Future tax revenue from the development is then diverted from the public coffers to pay off the bonds.