Friday, June 23, 2006

Local Matters

One of our engineers pointed me to an interesting article in an older copy of ODE magazine. The article is titled "Local Matters". Although written in February of 2005 it has some general insight and a few astonishing facts I'd love to point out.

Apparently it references a small business in Powell, Wyoming that has managed to stay alive in the aftermath of a Wal-mart store nearby. According to the magazine, "Powell Mercantile, a small clothing store has basically accomplished the impossible".

How you might wonder?

Well, it appears that Powell Mercantile beat the trend because it is owned by the community itself; 500 citizens put up money to launch the store because they didn't' want to see their Main Street boarded up. Now that's what I call banding together against the big box.

This is especially astonishing when in Iowa alone, Wal - mart has bankrupted 555 grocery stores, 298 hardware stores, 293 building supply stores, 161 variety stores, 158 women's clothing stores, 153 shoe stores, 116 drug stores, and 111 men's and boy's clothing stores in a ten year period.

Wow!?! That's just down right crazy considering the relatively small size of Iowa.

We shouldn't stop their either; among the job losses you also have drastically changed economies, higher pollution, and of course more traffic. But, what hurts the most is the community culture that is destroyed. Where is the "feel" of your town? What great spots are located where you live? Who are your community figures? Or is it all lost in the monotonous look and feel of corporate super stores?

Anyway, I'm pleased to see at least one small business has made it through this unbearable gridlock. Much like the citizens of Powell uniting to keep their store alive, MerchantCircle is aiming to put itself in front of these kinds of situations. We firmly believe that by uniting together, merchant to merchant, you can drive a much stronger force when faced with this type of adversity.

I'd love to hear about any other stories out there on merchant triumphs or better yet any current battles going on and how we might help. Leave me a comment or send your thoughts to and I'll get right back to you ASAP.

Let's keep our neighborhoods, ours!


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