From NEW RULES PROJECT
Misrepresenting Small Business
In this commentary for Business Week, the New Rules Project’s Stacy Mitchell argues that the two groups that have traditionally spoken for small business in Washington often push an agenda that only big business could love . READ MORE
Grassroots Financing is Underwriting a New Crop of Neighborhood Businesses
Securing a loan to open a new independent bookstore in Brooklyn looked like a long shot even before the financial crisis. After the meltdown, it seemed downright impossible.
Then business partners Jessica Stockton Bagnulo and Rebecca Fitting hit on an idea: they turned to neighbors and future customers to help finance the business, raising $70,000 in small loans in a few months.
Although no hard data exist, the number of businesses relying on their customers and neighbors for financing appears to be on the rise. Just as CSAs have played a key role in the rebirth of small-scale farms, so too may these new community-supported enterprise models help launch a new generation of independent grocers, bookstores, and other neighborhood businesses. READ MORE
Why Does Target Have a Subsidiary in Bermuda?
Or, for that matter, why does Best Buy have one in the Republic of Mauritius? Tax avoidance might be the answer. A growing number of big corporations are using offshore tax havens to escape paying U.S. taxes. A recent estimate suggests big companies are dodging at least $37 billion a year — and, in so doing, gaining a significant competitive advantage over small businesses.
Until now, efforts in Congress to block companies from hiding profits overseas have been slow-going. But that’s changing thanks to a new coalition of small businesses that have come together to call on Congress to level the playing field. READ MORE
Learn more about the New Rules Project’s Community Banking Initiative.
News Stories We’re Following
- In have-they-no-shame news, the supermarket chain Safeway installed a fake farmers market in one of its parking lots.
- Meanwhile, the USDA reports that the number of actual farmers markets has more than doubled this decade to 6,132.
- McDonalds is getting in on local-washing.
- In what it calls an “ironic statement,” Urban Outfitters is opening a new store in Manhattan clad in a façade meant to look like a local bodega, hardware store, hat shop, and neighborhood bar.
- Over in San Francisco, meanwhile, the indie retail is real and gaining ground, thanks to growing neighborhood support and an ordinance that limits formula chains.
- Shopping for an appliance? Independent appliance stores bested all of the big-box retailers in a Consumer Reports analysis.
- In a preview of life after Citizens United, Target and Best Buy are bankrolling a gubernatorial candidate in Minnesota, outraging civic groups and even some investors.
- Wal-Mart’s donations to political campaigns and its lobbying expenditures have soared in recent years.
- Six years before female employees filed suit against Wal-Mart, the company’s own internal analysis showed widespread discrimination against women in pay and promotions. Wal-Mart took no corrective action. Now it wants the suit thrown out.
- Wal-Mart used a divide-and-conquer strategy to win approval for two stores in Chicago. The retailer plans to open “several dozen” stores in the city.
- The Phoenix metro is now home to 300 empty big-box stores.
- A defunct Cleveland mall has become a giant greenhouse.
- The accumulated effect of Amazon’s pricing policy, its massive volume, and its recommendations system is to diminish real choice, writes Colin Robinson.
- Lacking the nimbleness and community roots of independents, chain bookstores are having a tough time surviving big-box stores and Amazon. Exhibit A: Barnes & Noble has put itself up for sale.
- Small businesses that manage to secure bank loans are paying more to borrow, while those that can’t are turning to pricey “hard-money” lenders.
- The small business champions over at Sheepless.org are on a States of Independents national tour.
- This month marked the official launch of Supportland, the loyalty card just for locals in Portland, Oregon.