Under what has become known as the “dark store” method, big-box retailers are declaring their busy stores to be functionally obsolescent and therefore nearly worthless for tax purposes —and they’re winning big judgments for back taxes. It’s the latest example of the way that, even as local governments continue to bend over backwards to attract big-box development, these stores are consistently a terrible deal. Continue reading
Viewing the big-box retail tag archive
Although few cities take full advantage of them, planning and zoning powers are among the most potent tools communities have for shaping their economies. Two recent decisions, in Massachusetts and Wisconsin, underscore why land use planning matters and how smart policies can strengthen the local economy and protect good jobs. Continue reading
To regenerate local businesses, we’ll need more than Buy Local campaigns; we’ll need to change public policy, which now favors big business. In this presentation, Stacy Mitchell looks at seven key policy areas to focus on. Continue reading
Cape Cod is the rare community that considers regional economic impacts when weighing big-box retail development, and that makes all the difference. Continue reading
ILSR’s Stacy Mitchell was a guest on Your Call on San Francisco public radio station KALW. She joined host Rose Aguilar and Charles Fishman, author of The Wal-Mart Effect, for an hour-long conversation about how Walmart came to dominate the economy and what local business owners and retail workers are doing to counter its market power. Continue reading
Most policymakers don’t imagine that their economic development decisions will affect such things as voter turnout or the prevalence of chronic disease. But a growing body of research is finding that scale and ownership of business matter in ways that extend far beyond economic outcomes. Continue reading
In this new report, the Institute for Local Self-Reliance documents how Walmart’s heavily promoted sustainability initiatives are falling short. “Walmart’s sustainability campaign has done more to improve the company’s image than to help the environment,” said Stacy Mitchell, the report’s author and a senior researcher at ILSR. Continue reading
We have compiled the best research on how big-box retailers and independent businesses affect communities and local economies. You will find summaries of the findings of dozens of studies that examine the impact of Walmart and other big retailers on jobs, small businesses, tax revenue, poverty rates, and more, as well as research on the social and economic contributions of independent businesses. Continue reading
Handing out multimillion-dollar subsidies to large chains has become commonplace in much of the country. But when governments use public money to woo national chains, economic growth and job creation are negligible, and independent retailers suffer, Stacy Mitchell argues in this commentary for Business Week.
Stacy Mitchell is interviewed on the Craig Fahle Show on WDET in Detroit on the issues around big box retail and independent businesses. The show aired on December 1, 2010.