Strength In Numbers, January 2018

Strength In Numbers, January 2018

Spread the Local Love for Valentine’s Day!

Valentine’s Day generates $19 billion in sales in the U.S. alone, making early February a key period for jewelers, florists, restaurants and many other independent businesses. Inspire your residents to show some love for local with our expanded library of fun ads and graphics, along with educational articles like Don’t Get Duped! Find a Real Local Florist.

Get 40% more “Love Local” decals FREE when you order 50 or more (choose from static cling or adhesive). Use the code LOVELOCAL 

U.S. Supreme Court to Review Landmark Sales Tax Ruling

While now collects sales tax on about half of the merchandise it sells (it does not collect tax on all the items fulfilled by third party sellers), many other giant online retailers still do not — placing storefront shops at a huge disadvantage. We’ve long urged the Court to reverse its 1992 decision (before e-commerce existed) that has allowed remote retailers to avoid charging tax, as in this 2011 Business Week commentary. We’ll publish more in the weeks ahead and will gladly help anyone interested in placing guest commentaries in their regional media.

The Regulations Behind the Success of Microbreweries

Beer brewing is one of the few realms in recent years where independent businesses both have been growing overall sales and increasing market share vs global corporations. Superior product quality and public enthusiasm for local products deserve credit, but so do regulations designed to limit vertical integration and protect competition. As momentum builds for renewed antitrust enforcement, what can we learn from this success story?

Foolish Regulations Suppress Business Start-ups 

On the other hand, over-regulation by states often suppresses entrepreneurship by erecting needless barriers to entry. For example, it’s a crime to cut hair commercially in Tennessee without paying for 1500 hours of training and state licensing.

Amazon’s HQ2 Extortion Scheme and Teachable Moments 

Amazon got so much free publicity from its announcement seeking proposals for a second headquarters, that it decided to make sequels. The corporation recently announced 20 “finalists” and the media swallowed the bait. The move also is designed to generate even more taxpayer subsidies from local and state officials that have been integral to its growth, but will not impact the location decision.

We suggest using the opportunity to raise awareness that investing in community infrastructure and programs that nurture homegrown businesses yields a far greater return on investment than subsidizing absentee-owned corporations. Good Jobs FirstInstitute for Local Self Reliance and our All About Amazon archive are all good background sources for more on and subsidies. Contact us for talking points or free assistance with generating local press releases or commentaries.

Allowing CVS/Aetna Merger Would Harm Indie Drug Stores and Consumers 

If this proposed merger of the dominant drug retailer and insurance giant goes through, independent pharmacies — particularly in underserved areas — will be in peril and customers will have reduced choices (more on this story).

As of this study published just over two years ago, independent pharmacies provided far greater value than CVS and all other drug chain stores. To keep up with antitrust issues across all trades, check out the Open Markets Institute.

Subway Illustrates the Perils of Owning a Franchise

While franchise corporations relentlessly promote their model as a safer and more profitable bet than opening an independent business, thousands of Subway franchisees are suffering the consequences of being subservient to distant corporate headquarters (and nearly 1000 storefronts closed last year). To learn more and educate would-be entrepreneurs in your area, see The Myth of the Franchise Advantage.

Taking Advantage of Big Events

With Minneapolis hosting the Super Bowl and media from around the planet, MetroIBA is seizing the opportunity to spotlight independent businesses across the Minneapolis-St. Paul area. A “While You’re Here” social media campaign rolls out next week with images ready for folks to tag their favorite indies and share. Campaign materials will be added here over the coming week. Their Super Bowl Local will provide online directories and specials from member businesses.

Please tell us about your local success stories or activities for our February Newsletter!

New Resource for AMIBA Affiliates (login required)

Webinar: Crowdfunding Learn what kinds of initiatives can be funded, available platforms, best practices, campaign tips, and gain insight to how crowdfunding can be a member and organizational benefit-in-one.

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