The Epoch Times – November 15, 2016
by Charlotte Cuthbertson
NEW YORK—Small retail stores across the country are facing unprecedented pressures that go beyond the normal ebb and flow.
High rents have finally cracked a crop of retailers that had adapted and weathered the intrusion of the internet and chain stores thus far—think shoe stores, fabric stores, electronics stores.
“Most of them made many adjustments and continued to thrive in their neighborhood,” said Ruth Messinger, former New York City council member and small business advocate.
“Then they got hit by a rent increase that they just couldn’t afford.”
The impact is not only devastating to the character of communities, but it weakens the economic fabric and guts the middle class, experts say.
The losses are being felt in cities nationally and globally.
“In cities as diverse as Oakland and Nashville, Milwaukee and Portland, Maine, retail rents have shot up by double-digit percentages over the last year alone,” according to an April report by the nonprofit Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR).