A federal judge has dismissed all charges in the antitrust case brought by three independent video rental businesses against Blockbuster Video and several major Hollywood studios. The defendants were charged with price discrimination and conspiracy to prevent independent stores from gaining access to the same revenue-sharing deals available to Blockbuster.
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After more than four years of fighting to block three big box retailers, the town of Old Saybrook, Connecticut, has adopted an ordinance banning stores over 88,000 square feet. That’s about the size of two football fields, but smaller than a typical Home Depot or Target store. The new law also restricts commercial buildings in some parts of town to no more than 25,000 square feet.
A grassroots group, Citizens Organized for Responsible Development (CORD), in Ellsworth, Maine, has gathered the 1,109 signatures needed to place a measure calling for a temporary moratorium on new retail development on the November ballot.
If it passes, the referendum will suspend construction of retail stores larger than 80,000 square feet on undeveloped land and commercial expansion of more than 40,000 square feet on developed land for a period of six months.
With much fanfare and, it seemed, the expectation of much praise, Wal-Mart unveiled plans in April for an "urban" style supercenter in downtown Dallas. The 220,000-square-foot supercenter would be situated on Mockingbird Lane in a residential neighborhood near Love Field. Unlike the standard suburban Wal-Mart, this one would feature a Spanish-style façade, landscaped gardens, underground parking, and a door that opened onto the sidewalk.
A profile of the first Independent Business Alliance.
Plotting the overthrow of the franchised world, bookstore owner David Bolduc and political organizer Jeff Milchen strategize on how to preserve hometown businesses in Boulder, Colorado, and around the country. Continue reading
To counter competition from big box retailers, independent lighting stores are banding together in a cooperative called Lighting One. The coop enables members to reduce costs through joint purchasing and gain access to services and expertise that otherwise would be unaffordable.
"Lighting One puts us on a level playing field with the big boxes," says Marilyn Shulman, second generation owner of Bayshore Lighting, a 60-year-old lighting store in Long Island, New York.
Just a few years ago, industry observers were predicting the demise of independent funeral homes. Four giant companies were buying up thousands of independent mortuaries and rapidly consolidating the industry. By processing bodies at large regional embalming plants, buying in bulk, and sharing employees across multiple homes, the chains were expected to gain a significant financial edge over their independent competitors.
The now defunct Intimate Bookshop of North Carolina has filed suit against Barnes & Noble and Borders Books alleging that the chains used their market power to pressure publishers for special discounts and terms unavailable to other retailers.
According to documents filed in the case by Intimate’s attorney, Carl Person, the chains received an effective discount of 60 percent off the cover price, compared to only about 40-46 percent given to independent bookstores.
A coalition of neighborhood, small business, and environmental groups has gathered more than 4,000 petition signatures against a proposed Wal-Mart store in Vancouver, Canada. Continue reading
Rumors of a citizens lawsuit are beginning to circulate in New Orleans less than a month after the city council approved a 200,000 square foot suburban-style Wal-Mart supercenter. The 17-acre development will be situated along Tchoupitoulas Street in the Lower Garden District, a historic neighborhood wedged between a bend in the Mississippi River and downtown.