Located on Lake Michigan, the small town of Petoskey in northern Michigan draws thousands of visitors every year. They come for the spectacular scenery and for an opportunity to experience what many communities have long since lost: a vibrant downtown. Renowned for its distinctive character and century-old buildings, downtown Petoskey is more than a quaint destination for tourists. Its a place that serves the everyday needs of residents. … Read More
Residents of Boulder, Col. no longer have to choose between supporting a locally owned retailer and shopping elsewhere for a better deal. For $15—less than the price of membership at one warehouse buying club—they can purchase a Community Benefit Card from the Boulder Independent Business Alliance (BIBA). The card provides discounts and other benefits at more than 60 local businesses, with most knocking 10 percent off every product and service they offer. … Read More
Vermont is home to more than 250 country stores, many of which have been the center of their communities for well over a century. Country stores are as varied and unique as the towns they serve. Most are small, cozy, locally owned and operated, and housed in historic buildings. Their offerings include staple products like newspapers and bread, as well as goods geared to the local market, such as fishing lures or gourmet cheeses.
Independent retailers in Eugene, Ore. have banded together to promote the idea of shopping at locally owned stores. Their new cooperative advertising program, known as Unique Eugene, aims to "persuade Eugeneans that shopping at customer service-oriented local stores is better for the community and more fun." … Read More
In late November, the Kansas City Council voted to approve new zoning rules to protect the Brookside business district from large-scale, suburban-style chain store development. The ordinance restricts retail uses to 10,000 square feet, except for grocery stores, which may be as large as 25,000 square feet, prohibits drive-through restaurants, limits building heights, caps the number of parking spaces allowed, and sets design standards for the neighborhood. … Read More
In December, the city of Coronado, Cal. adopted an ordinance restricting the proliferation of formula retail businesses. The ordinance notes that the unregulated addition of such businesses would frustrate the city’s goal of maintaining a unique and diverse retail base, and limit opportunities for small, local retailers.
Formula retail businesses are defined as those "required by contractual or other arrangement to maintain any of the following: standardized. … Read More
Residents of a Madison neighborhood were shocked to learn in early December that a 20-year-old local grocery store would be closing its doors. Ken Kopp, owner of Ken Kopp’s Fine Foods on Monroe Street, one of the last independent grocery stores in the city, announced he was retiring. Unable to find a buyer for the grocery business, Kopp planned to sell the property to a developer who intended to build a 14,000 square foot drive-through Walgreens.… Read More
Most people are familiar with the damage Wal-Mart, Target and other"big box" retailers have done to local economies. Across the country, these giant stores have gutted downtowns and decimated locally owned businesses.
Now the national chains are dealing communities a second blow. They are vacating their existing stores, sometimes to build bigger outlets, sometimes just closing up shop, in both cases leaving huge empty shells and acres of asphalt behind.