Independent remodeling businesses are being increasingly squeezed by Home Depot and Lowe’s. Having captured nearly half of all hardware and building supply sales nationally, the two chains are now expanding aggressively into installation services. Continue reading
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Album sales dropped more than 11 percent last year. Forecasts predict they will dive another 6 percent this year. The internet is partly to blame; the record industry says 2.6 billion music files are downloaded from the internet each month, many of which are burned to CDs. Music is also facing competition from other forms of entertainment, especially among teenagers, who are spending more money on DVDs and electronic games.
Radio consolidation hasn’t helped either.
The number of businesses belonging to purchasing cooperatives has doubled in the last ten years, to about 50,000, according to Paul Hazen of the National Cooperative Business Association. In the hardware and grocery sectors, long-established co-ops like Ace Hardware, have provided an essential line of defense against large chains and made the difference between survival and failure for countless independent merchants. The co-op model is now spreading to other retail sectors.
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.