Originally Published in ILSR Hometown Advantage
by Charlie Thaxton
Last March, Randall Woodfin, the mayor of Birmingham, Ala., presented the City Council with new data on food insecurity in the city. The numbers were stark: 69 percent of Birmingham residents live in a food desert, meaning they have to travel a mile or more to reach a grocery store selling fresh food. For the city’s low-income residents who depend on walking and public transit, that can make picking up groceries a long and arduous process.
Many residents end up shopping at dollar stores for food instead, the mayor reported. Although most dollar stores sell no fresh foods and offer only a narrow selection READ MORE.
This was originally published by the Institute for Local Self Reliance (ILSR). AIBA members participated in the study.
The results of the 2019 Independent Business Survey from the Institute for Local Self-Reliance demonstrate the strength and resiliency of small, independent businesses. They also speak to the forces independents see as significant threats and roadblocks to their businesses: a playing field made uneven by policies that favor their bigger competitors, highly concentrated markets for key supplies and services, and difficulty securing capital, among other barriers.
As we have documented in previous surveys, independent businesses have proven nimble during a period of dramatic shifts in technology and consumer habits. Much of their resilience can be traced to the distinct benefits they provide to their customers, industries, and communities.
Yet, despite these competitive advantages and their broader importance to the U.S. political economy, independent businesses are under threat and declining in most industries. The findings of our 2019 Independent Business Survey suggest that the problem isn’t changing technology or consumer habits. Instead, independent business owners say they are often competing on a unlevel playing field. Many public policy decisions in recent years have fueled market concentration and favored their big competitors….READ MORE.