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. Continue reading
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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. Continue reading
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. Continue reading
In mid-May, the city council of Arcata, California voted 4-to-1 to enact a citywide cap on the number formula restaurants. The measure must pass a second reading on June 5. It will become law 30 days later. The ordinance defines a formula restaurant as one that shares the same design, menu, trademark, and other characteristics with twelve or more other establishments. The ordinance bars a formula restaurant from locating within the city unless it is replacing an existing formula restaurant at the same location. Continue reading
Six weeks after an advisory referendum won broad support from residents, the Ocean Beach, California, planning board voted 8-to-4 in early May to recommend that the city council adopt an ordinance banning all formula restaurants and retail businesses.
Ocean Beach is a neighborhood of San Diego with a population of about 15,000. Each of the city’s neighborhoods has its own master plan and elected planning board.
British farmers and environmentalists are irate over the government’s new regulations governing the way major supermarket chains deal with their suppliers. The binding Code of Practice was issued in November after an extensive study found that the major supermarket chains routinely use their market power to squeeze farmers, undermine competition, and harm the public interest. Continue reading
In January, Canada’s university and college bookstores filed a complaint with federal competition officials over attempts by Indigo, the country’s largest book chain, to assume control of campus bookstores. Continue reading
A new Salt Lake City map offers residents and visitors a colorful and handy reference for finding more than 100 unique, locally owned businesses. The full color, fold-up map was created by the Salt Lake Vest Pocket Business Coalition, an alliance of 200 independent businesses. One side shows the city’s streets, with illustrations of major landmarks and buildings housing local businesses. Continue reading
Voters in five California cities—Agoura Hills, Mountain View, Reedley, Calexico, and East Palo Alto—went to the polls Tuesday to consider measures on big box development. Continue reading