The 2006 openings followed the launch of nearly 90 bookstores in 2005. “2005 was the first year in memory that there were a significant number of new store openings,” said Oren Teicher of the American Booksellers Association. The locations of the new stores spanned 35 states and included a wide range of cities and small towns, from Los Angeles to Pierre, South Dakota, and Homer, Louisiana. Continue reading
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RKG concluded that Middlebury consumers are spending nearly $7 million elsewhere each year and recommended that the city stem the leakage by enticing Wal-Mart to build a supercenter. But many Middlebury residents refuse to accept the inevitability of the low-wage retailing giant. They have their own ideas about solving Middlebury’s dilemma. They want to open a community-owned department store in the center of town. Continue reading
The town of Powell, Wyoming, is one of a growing number of places where residents are opening community-owned department stores. More than 800 shares of stock in the Powell Mercantile, priced at $500 each, were purchased by approximately 500 local investors. The 10,000-square-foot store, which sells mostly mid-range clothing and shoes, opened in July and has turned a profit ever since. Continue reading
The Bush Administration has cut the federal government’s largest and most important small business loan program by more than 60 percent. This year, the program will back only $4.4 billion in loans, compared to nearly $12 billion last year.
The program, known as 7(a), is run by the Small Business Administration and guarantees loans of up to $2 million made to small businesses. It is the largest source of long-term working capital for small businesses in the nation, accounting for some 40 percent of available financing.
Rising commercial rents are generally a good thing; they are an indication of the health of a business district and encourage landlords and banks to invest in building improvements.
But in some communities, commercial rents are rising too far too fast. Often this sudden run-up is driven by chain retailers, which discover the appeal of an area and sweep in by the dozens, offering above-market rents for choice spots and sparking a frenzy of speculation.
After more than a decade of decline, independent pharmacies are beginning to make a comeback. Last year, 244 new independent pharmacies opened, according to the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA). By comparison, the top three pharmacy chains had a combined increase of 234 stores last year. Walgreens posted a net gain of 344 new stores, CVS was up 35 stores, and Rite Aid had a net loss of 145 stores.
The increase in independent pharmacies is a sharp turnaround from the last decade.