A survey of 2,602 independent business owners across the U.S. has found that the Buy Local message is boosting customer traffic and improving the outlook on Main Street. But entrepreneurs also say policymakers need to do more to create a level playing field and ensure that small local businesses have an equal opportunity to compete.
Not having to charge sales tax fueled Amazon’s growth for nearly 20 years. While it’s impossible not to see the company as a horse that’s already out the barn door, there’s still good reason to believe that the Marketplace Fairness Act will slow Amazon’s consolidation of retailing and provide benefit to independent businesses.
An annual survey has found that independent businesses experienced solid revenue growth in 2012, buoyed in part by “buy local first” initiatives and growing public interest in supporting locally owned businesses. But the survey also documented significant challenges facing independent businesses, most notably an increase in “showrooming” and competition from online retailers, tax and subsidy policies that favor their big competitors, difficulty obtaining loans, and a customer base still reeling from the recession.
San Francisco is home to more independent businesses than other big cities, thanks in part to a 2006 law than gives neighborhoods the power to reject “formula” retail stores and restaurants. But the policy has major gaps, which have opened the way for chains to slip into the city. City leaders are now looking to beef up the law.
Choosing a locally owned business generates almost four times as much economic benefit for the surrounding community as shopping at a chain, a new study has concluded.CONTINUE READING
Most policymakers don’t imagine that their economic development decisions will affect such things as voter turnout or the prevalence of chronic disease. But a growing body of research is finding that scale and ownership of business matter in ways that extend far beyond economic outcomes.
In its push to get into urban areas, Walmart is claiming that its stores are actually good for nearby small businesses, at least those that do not compete in the same product lines. But the empirical evidence — including a extensive study published recently in the Journal of Urban Economics — indicates otherwise.
This infographic tracks how Amazon bullied and swindled its way to becoming one of the most powerful retailers on the planet. On pace to be bigger than Walmart by decade’s end, Amazon already controls more than one-third of online shopping and is growing four times faster than e-commerce overall.