Mad in the USA

Date: 8 Sep 2003 | posted in: Retail | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail

Wal-Mart and its ilk are muscling small businesses aside. But mom and pop are mad as hell and they’re not going to take it anymore. More than 1,000 people attended a rally a few weeks ago in Connecticut to demand fair trade and denounce the sweatshop buying habits of big retailers like Wal-Mart. The speakers were passionate, the crowd pumped. But this rally differed from the usual fair trade gatherings in one key respect: It was not organized by labor, student, or environmental groups. It was organized by an alliance of small and mid-sized manufacturers. "The major retailers and big manufacturers are doing us in," explained rally-organizer Fred Tedesco, owner of Pa-Ted Spring Co. in Bristol. "They’re destroying small- and medium-sized businesses. They’re destroying jobs. They’re destroying the middle class. . . That’s the dirty secret of this whole thing." … Read More

Cincinnati Planning Department Abolished at Behest of Big Box Developer

Date: 1 Apr 2003 | posted in: Retail | 1 Facebooktwitterredditmail

In an effort to reduce a budget deficit and make the city more "developer friendly," in the words of Mayor Charles Luken, Cincinnati has abolished its planning department. Eight staff members and the remnants of the city’s planning activities have been transferred to the community development department. The department will carry out state-mandated functions, such as zoning and historic preservation. Planning will largely be subordinate to economic development. … Read More

Tackling the Problem of Commercial Gentrification

Date: 1 Nov 2002 | posted in: Retail | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail

Rising commercial rents are generally a good thing; they are an indication of the health of a business district and encourage landlords and banks to invest in building improvements. But in some communities, commercial rents are rising too far too fast. Often this sudden run-up is driven by chain retailers, which discover the appeal of an area and sweep in by the dozens, offering above-market rents for choice spots and sparking a frenzy of speculation.… Read More

California Bill Aims to Quell Quest for Big Retail

Date: 2 Mar 2002 | posted in: Retail | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail

In every region of the country, chain store developers have successfully played neighboring communities against one another to gain approval for their stores and to exact the biggest tax breaks and public subsidies. But nowhere have city officials been as desperate for sales tax revenue—and thus big box stores, shopping malls, and auto dealerships—than in California, where the competition for retail development has been especially costly and destructive. … Read More

New Orleans Landmark Saved, But Wal-Mart Still Not Welcome

Date: 1 Oct 2001 | posted in: Retail | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail

Fierce opposition from preservation and community groups has saved the last cotton press complex in the city of New Orleans from becoming a Wal-Mart parking lot. Now, building on this success, the groups hope to keep the proposed store out altogether. In July, the ironically named Historic Restoration Inc. (HRI) revealed plans to redevelop a 65-acre site along Tchoupitoulas Street in the heart of New Orleans. The proposal includes 1100 units of housing and a 203,000 square foot Wal-Mart supercenter. … Read More

Mamaroneck Zoning Law Survives Court Challenge

Date: 1 Oct 2001 | posted in: Retail | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail

A New York court has let stand a local law enacted by the town of Mamaroneck governing development outside its borders. Under the law, large-scale developments that abut, adjoin, or are adjacent to the Mamaroneck’s borders must undergo a comprehensive review and obtain a permit from the Town Board. The law covers residential projects of 250 or more homes, facilities of more than 100,000 square feet, and projects involving parking for more than 1,000 vehicles. … Read More

Protecting Historic Buildings From Chain Drugstores

Date: 1 Oct 2001 | posted in: Retail | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail

Several years ago the major drugstore chains—CVS, Walgreens, Rite Aid, and Eckerd—lost interest in strip malls and began to focus their expansion plans on prominent downtown intersections. As Walgreens CEO Daniel Jorndt told the New York Times, the chain’s preferred location these days is "the corner of Main and Main." Often, of course, these intersections are occupied by some of the community’s oldest and most significant buildings. … Read More

Brooklyn Neighborhood Defeats Ikea

Date: 1 Aug 2001 | posted in: Retail | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail

In June, the Swedish furniture chain Ikea dropped its proposal to build a 300,000 square foot store on 9-acre site in Brooklyn. The defeat is Ikea’s second in the New York region this year. In February, organized opposition from small business owners and residents forced Ikea to back out of plans to open a store in New Rochelle. The Brooklyn site is located near Gowanus Canal in a predominantly residential neighborhood. Once the location of a coal transfer station, the land is currently owned by the US Postal Service.… Read More

Midway Home Depot Dismantles Concept of Quality of Life

Date: 5 Jun 2001 | posted in: Retail | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail

Home Depot wants to build one of its giant stores with a multiacre parking lot on the corner of Lexington Parkway and University Avenue. The St. Paul City Council has authorized city officials to negotiate a financing package with the Atlanta-based corporation that could include as much as $5 million in tax increment financing (TIF), a form of public subsidy. Once a formal plan is submitted, the City Council will vote on whether to approve the development. Supporterscontend Home Depot will generate new jobs and tax revenue. But numerous studies have found that these giant chain retailers destroy about as many jobs and as much tax revenue as they create. This is because retail spending in a given market is a relatively fixed pie. Adding a massive amount of new retail in one location — in this case an estimated $40 million in annual sales — will invariably cause revenue to decline at established local businesses.Many of these businesses will be forced to downsize or close. The resulting job and tax losses will substantially offset the gains created by Home Depot. … Read More

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