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Photo: A Walmart Neighborhood Market.
Featured Article filed under Independent Business | Written by Walter Wuthmann | No Comments | Updated on Mar 23, 2015

Walmart Is Quietly Going on a Massive Building Spree

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://ilsr.org/walmart-quietly-massive-building-spree/

This piece was written by ILSR’s Walter Wuthmann, and first published by Grist.

In January of last year, residents in Slidell, La., a suburb of New Orleans on the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain, were shocked to discover that a wooded stretch of land tucked into the middle of their neighborhood was slated to be cleared for a Walmart Neighborhood Market. It not only seemed an unlikely place to put such a store, but just weeks earlier Walmart had announced plans to build a Neighborhood Market less than four miles south on Pontchartrain Drive. Furthermore, Slidell already had two Walmart Supercenters. Developing the wooded lot on Roberts Drive would be the fourth Walmart in a town of fewer than 30,000 people.

“We are beside ourselves,” said Caroline Poupart, who lived directly behind the site of the proposed Walmart. “That green space has been here since the inception of time,” she told The Times-Picayune.

Yet there was little residents could do to stop Walmart. Like most U.S. cities, Slidell has permissive zoning when it comes to commercial development. This particular wooded lot is zoned for “neighborhood commercial,” under which Walmart’s Neighborhood Market store, which is essentially a large supermarket fronted by a few acres of parking, qualified as an acceptable use.

Today, the forested lot in north Slidell is gone, and the small town is saddled with four Walmart stores.

The situation in Slidell is a microcosm of a strategy Walmart is pushing hard across the southern U.S., and will soon advance northward. Having used its supercenters to capture one-quarter of U.S. grocery sales, the chain is building a new wave of smaller stores that are poised to clean up the market share its supercenters don’t already control. In the New Orleans metro area, Walmart accounted for 40 percent of the $2.1 billion people spent on food in 2012, according to data from Chain Store Guide. Its new stores in Slidell and other suburbs will inch that figure closer to 50 percent.

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Map: Walmart Square Footage per person in 2014.
Featured Article, Resource filed under Independent Business | Written by Stacy Mitchell | No Comments | Updated on Mar 23, 2015

New Maps Show Alarming Pace of Walmart’s Continued Growth

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://ilsr.org/alarming-pace-walmarts-continued-growth/

Walmart continues to expand, and rapidly. The company is now embarking on its third historic wave of store construction, with plans to build 440 to 460 “Neighborhood Market” stores over a two year period, presumably with many hundreds more to follow. There is a critical debate to be had right now about whether a company that already captures one-quarter of U.S. grocery sales should be allowed to grow to control one-third, or even half, of our food supply. Continue reading

Photo: Open Streets in northeast Minneapolis.
Featured Article filed under Independent Business | Written by Olivia LaVecchia | No Comments | Updated on Feb 23, 2015

The Do-It-Yourselves Downtown

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://ilsr.org/do-it-yourselves-downtown-investment-cooperative-model/

In the vacuum left by both traditional economic development and Wall Street’s approach to finance, community real estate investment cooperatives offer a glimpse of a better way to channel capital, with benefits that include new jobs in the neighborhood, strong incentives for people to shop locally, local sources for key goods, closer ties with neighbors, and a return on investment. Continue reading

SCOTUS
Featured Article filed under Independent Business | Written by Olivia LaVecchia | No Comments | Updated on Mar 4, 2015

At U.S. Supreme Court, an Invitation to Reconsider Internet Sales Tax Ruling

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://ilsr.org/us-supreme-court-invitation-reconsider-internet-sales-tax-ruling/

After years of fighting for a federal fix for the online sales tax loophole, this week, advocates for e-fairness gained a new ally: U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony M. Kennedy. Continue reading

Photo: David Carr.
Featured Article filed under Independent Business | Written by Stacy Mitchell | No Comments | Updated on Feb 18, 2015

Remembering David Carr, and His Writing on Monopoly Power

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://ilsr.org/remembering-david-carr-writing-monopoly-power/

What will we do without David Carr, the brilliant media columnist at the New York Times who died last week? At ILSR, we will especially miss his writing on monopoly power, Amazon, and the book business. We’ve excerpted and linked to a few of his best recent pieces on those subjects. Continue reading