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FEATURES

More Cities Pass Laws to Block Dollar Store Chains

CHARLIE THAXTON  |   SEPT. 26, 2019

Fueled by easy cash from Wall Street, two dominant chains are opening thousands of dollar stores across urban and rural communities, and causing economic distress nationwide.

Inspired by ILSR’s research, a growing number of cities, including Birmingham, Cleveland, and New Orleans, are now taking legislative action to block new dollar stores and support local grocery store development instead. We take a closer look at this national movement. READ MORE.

AMAZON

CNN Investigates Amazon in New Documentary Featuring ILSR’s Stacy Mitchell

HIBBA MERAAY |   SEPT. 19, 2019

Stacy Mitchell was featured in CNN's documentary, The Age of Amazon. Stacy offers crucial perspective on Amazon’s monopoly power and control over the digital infrastructure of the economy. CNN cites ILSR’s research on how detrimental Amazon is to independent businesses and quotes Stacy on how Amazon used the HQ2 search to mine American cities for data. WATCH SELECTED CLIPS.

WHAT WE’VE BEEN UP TO


ON THE PODCAST

There’s been a lot happening on the anti-monopoly front this summer. Zach Freed and Stacy Mitchell discuss recent developments and how ILSR’s effort to break up monopolies is gaining traction. Listen to this episode here. 

ICYMI

Our 2019 survey demonstrates the strength and resiliency of small, independent businesses. It also speaks to the forces independents see as significant threats and roadblocks to their businesses. See the survey findings here.

 

NEWS STORIES WE'RE FOLLOWING

  • As part of its monopoly investigation, the House’s Antitrust Subcommittee told Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos to hand over a trove of internal communications. In a tweet thread, Stacy explains the significance of the items the committee wants.
     
  • In a revelation that could add to Amazon’s antitrust woes, a Wall Street Journal investigation found that Amazon designed its search algorithm to favor products more profitable to its bottom line, including its own house brand products, instead of those more relevant to a customer’s search.
     
  • Meanwhile, thousands of counterfeit, unsafe, and banned products proliferate on Amazon’s platform, another Wall Street Journal investigation found.
     
  • Both ProPublica and BuzzFeed dug into the relentless pace that Amazon imposes on delivery drivers — and the crashes and deaths that result. While competing shipping companies invest in systems to reduce accidents, Amazon escapes liability by using a network of contractors.
     
  • Amazon is now delivering nearly half of its own packages. Meanwhile, the U.S. Postal Service, which has touted its partnership with Amazon, saw its package volume drop for the first time in nine years.
     
  • Two years ago, Americans were split on the question of whether Amazon is good or bad for small business. A strong majority now believe it’s bad, one of many signs that people are more worried about Amazon’s power.
     
  • The much-discussed “JEDI” contract is only the beginning. Silicon Valley firms, including Amazon, continue to deepen their relationship with the Pentagon.
     
  • Pittsburgh’s city Controller wants to cut back on city purchasing through Amazon, which, he says, is at odds with the city’s goal of buying local.
     
  • After the closing of a Save-A-Lot in Roanoke, Va., residents are left to fend for themselves in a newly-created food desert.
     
  • A study has found the best remedy for food deserts are co-ops and other forms of community ownership. These stores have higher success rates than commercial operations.
     
  • An independent Virginia pharmacist explains how CVS and other pharmacy benefit managers are pushing local pharmacies out of business. “Ultimately, their patients will suffer, as will communities they serve.”
     
  • New York City will create a retail vacancy database. The database aims to give the City data as it confronts inflating commercial rents.
     
  • An Arlington, Va., bookseller is struggling with a 30 percent property tax hike. The city recently handed over $23 million to Amazon for its second headquarters.
     
  • After NYC community members and legislators defeated Amazon’s HQ bid, New York state lawmakers are revisiting the wisdom of large corporate giveaways in general.
     
  • Credit card interchange fees are a private tax on consumers, but they rely heavily on previously-created public infrastructure, Ryan Cooper details in The Week.
     
  • The Bank of North Dakota celebrated its centennial this summer. This state-owned bank is one-of-a-kind and has helped the North Dakota’s community banks thrive while their peers across the country struggle.
     
  • “We seek the new, and the novel, and welcome improvements in our neighborhoods with open arms. But we also need places to anchor us.” An essay commemorates the closing of a beloved neighborhood record shop.
     
  • The twin idols of shareholder primacy and cheaper prices for consumers have created a “national identity crisis,” according to law professor Tim Wu.

From informing policymakers to shaping media coverage, ILSR's research is
making an impact. Please help us work to create an economy that's more
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