Launched to Help Grassroots Groups Counter Big-Box Stores

Date: 25 Sep 2006 | posted in: Press Release, Retail | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail

Sept. 25, 2006

The Institute for Local Self-Reliance, which has helped grassroots groups in dozens of communities block the spread of Wal-Mart and other big-box retailers, has launched a new online resource center to bolster these local campaigns. provides a variety of tools to help citizens both beat the big boxes and chart a new course for economic development in their communities.

The site includes an interactive map showing the more than 200 cities and towns where grassroots groups are currently fighting big-box proposals, working to pass local laws that limit large-scale retail development, forming independent business alliances, and similar initiatives.

“We want to help all of these local groups connect to one another and see themselves as part of a national movement, which is what the interactive map does,” said Stacy Mitchell, a senior researcher with ILSR and director of Big Box Tool Kit.

In addition to fact sheets, summaries of academic research, a slide presentation, and other tools citizens can use to highlight the hidden costs of big-box development, also offers kits for implementing new land use policies and economic development strategies that curb retail sprawl and strengthen independent businesses.

“A major goal of the site is to encourage groups fighting Wal-Mart or another big-box store not to disband after the fight, but to keep working on proactive initiatives — changing their local land use policies, starting a buy local campaign, building a retail incubator, and so on,” explained Mitchell.

The Institute for Local Self-Reliance is a national nonprofit organization founded in 1974 to advance sustainable, equitable, and community-centered economic development through research and educational activities and technical assistance.