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SG-W:/ Fwd: Home Town Advantage Bulletin - March 2002 (dealing with big box stores)

This issue contains a number of items that I think will be of interest
to members of this list. In particular, I think the several items on big
box policies and the info on Wal-Mart closings are very interesting. And
some of you might want to look into the sprawl-fighting guide.


---------------- Begin Forwarded Message ----------------
Date:        03/06  4:10 PM
Received:    03/06  4:55 PM
From:        Stacy Mitchell, smitchell@ilsr.org
To:          home_town_advantage@topica.com

The Home Town Advantage Bulletin
Issue #9  -  March 2002


-- About this Bulletin
-- Voters Defeat Three Out of Five Big Box Stores in March Elections
-- Alaska Governor Chides Safeway over Switch to Starbucks
-- Oregon County Bans Big Box Stores
-- Bozeman Weighs Economic Impact Review Ordinance
-- California Bill Aims To Quell Quest for Big Retail
-- New Code Won't Break British Chains' Armlock on Farmers
-- Canada's Campus Bookstores Fight Chain Takeover
-- Salt Lake City Map Highlights Local Businesses
-- Vermont Conference
-- Sprawl-Busters Releases Annual Count of Vacant Wal-Mart Stores
-- New Guide for Communities Fighting Sprawl
-- Guelph Against Goliath


In communities across the country, citizens are taking action to defend
and strengthen their local economies. The Institute for Local
Self-Reliance (ILSR) has been tracking these efforts and will use this
bulletin to provide bimonthly updates on significant developments. We
hope it will serve as a tool for making connections and sharing
strategies within this growing movement. We encourage readers to share
news and resources by sending email to smitchell@ilsr.org.

ILSR is a nonprofit organization providing research, analysis, and
innovative policy solutions for building healthy communities and strong
local economies. This bulletin is part of ILSR's New Rules Project
(http://www.newrules.org), which publishes a quarterly journal, The New
Rules;  several electronic bulletins on specific issues; and books,
including The Home Town Advantage: How to Defend Your Main Street
Against Chain Stores and Why It Matters. We also maintain a web-based
clearinghouse of model public policies at http://www.newrules.org.

Another good source of news on local efforts to keep megastores at bay
is the NewsFlash! section of the Sprawl-Busters web site
(http://www.sprawl-busters.com). Additional links and organizations are
listed at the end of each story.

If you're not already receiving this newsletter directly, subscribe by
sending a blank email to:
To unsubscribe, send a blank email to:
Back issues are available at http://www.newrules.org/hta/index.htm.



Voters in five California cities---Agoura Hills, Mountain View, Reedley,

Calexico, and East Palo Alto---went to the polls Tuesday to consider
measures on big box development.

AGOURA HILLS: In Agoura Hills, a town of 20,000 north of Los Angeles,
voters banned retail stores larger than 60,000 square feet. The measure
bars the city from allowing any exceptions to the ordinance; variances
can only be granted by voters.

Citizens for Responsible Development (CRD) gathered signatures last year

to place the initiative on the ballot. The group formed after a
developer proposed a 255,000 square foot retail complex, including a
139,000 square foot Home Depot store.

The proposal has dominated local politics for months. The city council
and several former mayors vehemently opposed the size cap, which they
characterized as a radical measure that would destroy the city's ability

to expand its tax base.

Supporters countered that the city's tax base grew 24 percent over the
last five years in the absence of big box retail. Moreover, a Home Depot

would threaten several of the community's largest sources of sales tax
revenue---a hardware store, lumber dealer, equipment renter, fence
business, door supplier, and building materials company---all of which
are locally owned.

During the course of the campaign, it was revealed that city officials
had met secretly with the developer and had possibly negotiated a
substantial public subsidy for Home Depot.

The city was also reprimanded by a superior court judge, who concluded
that city did not provide an impartial analysis on materials mailed to
voters. "The opinion by the City Attorney is not impartial because it
seeks to persuade voters to vote against Proposition H," the judge
ruled. "The opinion expressed by the City Attorney is highly
questionable and probably wrong."

Home Depot funded a faux citizens group, Taxpayers Opposing Special
Treatment, to fight the size cap. The group ran newspaper ads,
distributed lawn signs and literature, and conducted "push polls," in
which residents were fed favorable statements about Home Depot in the
guise of an objective opinion poll.

-- Citizens for Responsible Development: http://www.saveagoura.com/
-- Examples of size caps enacted in other communities:

MOUNTAIN VIEW: In Mountain View, a community of 76,000 north of San
Jose, voters defeated a ballot measure to rezone land for a Home Depot
store by a 2-to-1 margin.

Home Depot has been trying to build a 125,000 square foot store in
Mountain View for several years. The corporation has repeatedly failed
to win support from the city council, which placed a 50,000 square foot
size limit on the site in 1999. Unable to convince the council to lift
cap lifted last year, Home Depot gathered signatures to put the matter
directly to voters.

Home Depot pulled out all the stops to win. It formed a "grassroots"
group, Citizens for Home Depot, to lead its campaign. As of late
February, the organization had raised $433,000 dollars, mostly from Home

Depot. The company hired firms to conduct "push polls" and mailed videos

extolling the company's virtues and featuring endorsements from
prominent area politicians to 12,000 homes.

Opponents, organized as Citizens Voting No on N, raised $250,000. They
distributed lawn signs depicting Home Depot as a menacing gorilla, and
brochures that focused on the development's impact on traffic, local
businesses, existing retail jobs, and community character.

The vote was 8,084 against Home Depot and 4,436 in favor.

REEDLEY:  Meanwhile, in Reedley, a town of 21,000 near Fresno, voters
narrowly rejected two ballot initiatives that would have enabled the
construction of a Wal-Mart store.

Measures C and D authorized the annexation and rezoning of agricultural
land along the Kings River to allow for commercial development. Both
measures were defeated by small margins: 1,585 to 1,564 and 1,598 to

Wal-Mart had sought to build a 103,000 square foot store along the river

that could be expanded to 187,000 square feet at a later date. After
three of five city council members declared conflicts of interest
because of land holdings near the site, the council moved to put the
decision before the voters. Then in December, Wal-Mart withdrew the
project, saying that the $1 million in mitigation costs the city
anticipated levying was more than the company wanted to spend.

It was too late to remove the measure from the March ballot and, in the
end, the vote mattered, because the property owner indicated that he
would pursue other retailers for the site if the re-zoning was approved.

A grassroots group, Citizens to Preserve Reedley, led a spirited
campaign against the ballot measures. Loss of small town character, harm

to local businesses, and environmental impact topped their list of
concerns. To raise public awareness and funds for their campaign, the
group sold prints of two paintings, "Aerial View of the Kings: Before
Wal-Mart" and "Kings River Bluff: Approach to Reedley," done by local

CALEXICO: Voters in Calexico, a town of 27,000 along the Mexican border,

defeated a ballot initiative that would have barred the construction of
a Wal-Mart supercenter.

Measure B asked voters to ban stores larger than 150,000 square feet
that devote more than 7.5 percent of their floor space to groceries. The

law would bar companies like Wal-Mart and Target from building
supercenters that combine general merchandise with a supermarket.

The ordinance lost in a 2,651 to 1,381 vote. Wal-Mart spent $140,000 to
defeat the measure. Supporters of the ordinance, including a labor union

and small business owners, spent $60,000.

The United Food and Commercial Workers union, which represents
supermarket workers, has fought to stop the expansion of Wal-Mart and
Target supercenters in California and other states. Both companies are
aggressively anti-union. One study found that California's unionized
supermarket workers earn twice as much as their Wal-Mart counterparts.

Ordinances like this one that target supercenters in particular have not

been as successful as measures that ban all stores over a certain size.
The anti-supercenter measures are often seen as serving a narrow special

interest and have not generated broad levels of support.

EAST PALO ALTO:  A ballot measure to re-zone 10.5 acres in East Palo
Alto to allow for an Ikea furniture store won by just 75 votes. The
300,000 square foot store, the equivalent of more than seven football
fields, is slated to open in 2003.

Citizens fought the store on the grounds that it would inundate the area

with traffic and undermine the community's small town atmosphere and
local businesses. They were greatly out-spent. As of late February, Ikea

had spent $148,000 on the campaign, or $106 for each favorable vote,
while opponents had spent just $17,000.


Less than a month after announcing it would replace locally roasted
coffee with Starbucks at its Alaska stores, the Safeway supermarket
chain is backing down.

A barrage of protest from angry residents and a strongly worded letter
from Governor Tony Knowles forced the retailer to reconsider its
decision to eliminate two Anchorage roasters in favor of Starbucks at
its in-store coffee bars. "This action is a slap in the face of many
Alaskans," the governor wrote in a letter to the company's CEO.

Safeway is the third largest supermarket chain nationally and the
dominant grocer in Alaska. Safeway's purchase of the Alaska chain Carrs
in 1999 was the subject of a class action lawsuit brought by consumers
who argued the takeover would give Safeway a statewide monopoly. The
suit was settled after the state attorney general negotiated a consent
decree requiring Safeway to sell seven of its stores and to maintain
Carrs' commitment to purchasing Alaska-made products.

Although no final decision has been announced, Anchorage roasters Cafe
del Mundo and Kaladi Bros. are optimistic after recent meetings with
Safeway officials.



In late January, after more than two hours of mostly favorable public
testimony, the Board of Commissioners in Hood River County, Oregon voted

unanimously to bar new retail stores over 50,000 square feet. The new
ordinance also establishes a design review process for new retail
buildings between 25,000 and 50,000 square feet.

The ordinance applies to land that lies outside the Hood River town
limits, but is still within the community's urban growth boundary. Under

statewide planning law, Oregon communities are required to establish
boundaries to guide new development and limit sprawl. Hood River is a
town of about 5,000 in north central Oregon along the Washington border.

An identical retail size limit was enacted by the town of Hood River a
few months ago. Under an intergovernmental agreement, whenever the town
adopts a new land use ordinance, the county is obliged to consider the
measure as well.

Jurgen Hess, chair of the city's Planning Commission, said officials
considered various thresholds and felt that 50,000 square feet was "an
appropriate number given scale, livability and compatibility issues." He

noted that the community was concerned that "not having this footprint
ordinance would lead to a decrease in smaller businesses and a decrease
in diversity."

"I'm pleased about the outcome, and what I'm really pleased about is the

county and city coming together and starting to have a dialogue," said
Judie Hanel, co-chair of Citizens for Responsible Growth (CRG), a
grassroots group that came together last year to work for the size cap,
fight a proposed Wal-Mart supercenter, and foster sustainable
development and family-wage jobs.

The county's size cap was enacted too late to stop a proposed 185,000
square foot Wal-Mart supercenter on land just outside the town limits.
Wal-Mart submitted its application before the county voted on the
measure and therefore will be grandfathered in. Wal-Mart already has a
72,000 square foot store in Hood River, which will likely close when the

new supercenter opens.

According to CRG's Maui Meyer, it was Wal-Mart's application that
finally spurred the county to act. The vote was unanimous partly because

commissioners wanted to "atone for the fact that they hadn't been paying

attention" to the threat of big box retail.

The ordinance did put an end to the supermarket chain Safeway's plans to

build a large store. Unlike Wal-Mart, Safeway had not yet submitted a
formal application.

CRG will continue to work to strengthen Hood River's vibrant downtown,
which includes a movie theater, hotel, and a variety of retail stores
from hardware to office supplies. The group has also turned its
attention to the area's struggling apple and pear farmers, who've been
undercut by imports. CRG wants to establish better links between farmers

and local restaurants and grocers, increase consumer demand for local
fruit, and encourage organic production.

Meanwhile, two-and-a-half hours south, the town of Madras is also
considering a retail size cap. Mayor Rick Allen proposed the measure and

hopes the town council will move quickly. No big box stores currently
exist in Madras, but it's only a matter of time, contends the mayor.
According to rumors, Wal-Mart is already sniffing around town.

-- Hood River Citizens for Responsible Growth:


The Bozeman, Montana city commission is expected to vote later this
month on a zoning ordinance that would require proposals for stores
larger than 50,000 square feet (less than half the size of a typical
Wal-Mart) to undergo an economic impact review before gaining approval.

The ordinance builds upon the city's one-year-old growth policy, which
seeks to foster "a diverse economy that will protect the economic
climate for existing businesses," to ensure that new development does
not degrade Bozeman's historic core, and to maintain an adequate supply
of affordable housing.

Under the ordinance, a retail developer would be required to submit
studies on the project's economic and fiscal impacts, including its
projected impact on existing businesses, retail employment, prevailing
wages and benefits, and the costs of providing public services.

Bozeman is suffering a severe deficit of middle- and low-income housing.

The ordinance would require an analysis of the development's impact on
the city's housing supply (e.g., will employees earn enough to afford
housing and how will the project impact the supply of housing?).

The ordinance mandates that large-scale retail developments also undergo

traffic studies and that developers submit detailed plans for re-using
or demolishing the building should the store closes.

The impact analyses would be conducted by an independent economic
consultant approved by the city and paid for by the developer. A public
hearing on the project would also be required.

Wal-Mart has tried for more than two years to expand its existing
Bozeman store by 80,000 square feet. The new "supercenter" would combine

general merchandise with a full supermarket.

Downtown business owners, many citizens, and several local environmental

organizations have fought the expansion. Steve Kirchoff, then a city
commissioner and now the mayor, initially called for a size limit that
would bar Wal-Mart's expansion and any new big box stores.

The size cap did not generate sufficient support from the city
commission. At a September meeting---which drew a crowd of 200 opposed
to the expansion---the commission gave Wal-Mart the go-ahead, provided
that the developer take steps to mitigate the store's impact.

Wal-Mart offered to spend $10,000 on mitigation.

Last month, the city manager informed the company that it would need to
spend $25 million to offset impacts on the community and local economy.
The figure was based partly on the difference between Wal-Mart wages and

the area's prevailing retail wage.

The city's demand includes money for new downtown parking spaces;
affordable housing; a shuttle, sidewalk, and bike path to link the
Wal-Mart with the downtown; and a joint promotional program for the
region's supermarkets.

Both Home Depot and Lowe's are hoping to build stores in Bozeman as


In every region of the country, chain store developers have successfully

played neighboring communities against one another to gain approval for
their stores and to exact the biggest tax breaks and public subsidies.
But nowhere have city officials been as desperate for sales tax
revenue---and thus big box stores, shopping malls, and auto
dealerships---than in California, where the competition for retail
development has been especially costly and destructive.

The problem dates back to 1978, when California voters passed
Proposition 13, which slashed property taxes and dramatically reduced
revenue for city services. The state made matters worse in 1991 when it
reduced cities' share of the remaining property tax revenue.

To make up for the losses, local governments have aggressively pursued
sales tax revenue. Cities collect a one-percent tax on every retail
dollar spent within their borders. The sale of a $25,000 car will thus
generate $250---more than many houses contribute to city coffers through

property taxes over an entire year.

Dependence on sales tax revenue has led California cities to make land
use decisions that would otherwise seem unwise. Many have rejected much
needed new housing or office buildings with high-paying jobs in favor of

adding more low-wage retail to an already over saturated market.

Car dealerships, superstores, and shopping malls have rapidly
proliferated in new suburbs and along highways. Often these developments

cannibalize sales from older retail centers, forcing local businesses
and established malls to close, and further aggravating competition for
tax base.

Chain store developers have adroitly manipulated this competition to
exact huge tax breaks and subsidies, and, in some cases, to gain
exemptions from environmental regulations.

"Short of betting in Las Vegas, it would be hard to devise a worse way
to fund city services," contends Rick Cole, Azusa city manager.

Now, a broad coalition is backing a bill that would move the state one
step closer towards ending what critics call "cash box zoning."
Sponsored by Assemblyman Darrell Steinberg of Sacramento, the bill would

establish a system for sharing sales tax revenue among the 18
municipalities in the Sacramento metropolitan region. Supporters hope it

will create a model for the rest of the state.

Originally, Steinberg's bill called for full revenue-sharing, where all
of the sales tax revenue in the region would be pooled and redistributed

based on each community's population. Steinberg later modified the
measure to enhance its chances of passing.

As currently structured, the bill would pool only sales tax revenue
generated from new development. One-third of the pooled revenue would be

redistributed to the cities based on population. Another third would
stay in the city where the development is located. The final third would

also go to the host city provided it meets certain "smart growth" goals,

including affordable housing creation, open space preservation, and
infill development.

Backed by a coalition of labor unions, neighborhood activists, and city
planners, the bill passed the California Assembly by a one-vote majority

in January.

The bill now goes to the Senate, where several powerful trade
associations have vowed to block its passage: the California Business
Properties Association, which includes Wal-Mart, Chevron, and McDonalds;

the California Retailers Association, representing Home Depot, Target,
Circuit City and the like; the California Chamber of Commerce; the
International Council of Shopping Centers; and the California Building

The state's municipalities are strongly divided over the measure, with
struggling cities in support and wealthy new suburbs opposed. The
California League of Cities has come out against the bill on the grounds

that it undermines local control. Supporters counter that it is
developers, not cities, who now call the shots.



British farmers and environmentalists are irate over the government's
new regulations governing the way major supermarket chains deal with
their suppliers. The binding Code of Practice was issued in November
after an extensive study found that the major supermarket chains
routinely use their market power to squeeze farmers, undermine
competition, and harm the public interest.

Farmers attacked the new rules as "purely cosmetic," while Friends of
the Earth warned that the code is "so weak that it simply legitimizes
the worst practices of the supermarkets."

Just five companies---Tesco, Sainsbury, Safeway, Wal-Mart-owned Asda,
and Somerfield---account for 80 percent of all grocery sales in Britain.

Tesco has fully one-quarter of the market. In the U.S., the top five
firms control 40 percent of sales nationally and about 75 percent of
sales in the largest 100 cities.

The Competition Commission, an independent agency established by
Parliament, began investigating supermarkets two years ago. The inquiry
was prompted by Welsh farmers' angry demonstrations in front of
supermarkets, asking why they only got  2 for a lamb when the meat was
sold for  2 per pound in the store.

The Commission also sought to determine why groceries cost 12-16 percent

more in Britain than in France and Germany.  Farm incomes meanwhile have

reached their lowest levels in more than a decade. Last year, total farm

income was  1.8 billion. Tesco alone generated  1 billion in profits.

The Commission's report cleared the chains of collusion and price
fixing, but documented 52 ways in which supermarkets are exploiting
their dominant power over farmers and suppliers. Several of the chains,
for instance, required that suppliers pay a substantial fee to obtain
shelf space. These payments are also widespread in the U.S., where they
are known as "slotting fees."

"We find that this practice, when carried out by any of those multiples
[i.e., chains] with buying power," concluded the report, "adversely
affects the competitiveness of some of their suppliers and distorts
competition. . . because the multiple engaging in the practice does not
necessarily select the best, or most efficiently produced, product, or
that preferred by consumers, but to some extent is influenced by whoever

is best able to make the payment requested." Often the fees required are

beyond the means of small farms and food companies.

Other anti-competitive practices documented by the report include
requiring suppliers to shoulder most of the costs of in-store
promotions, provide compensation and retrospective discounts when sales
of a product do not meet expectations, contribute to the costs of
building new stores, and provide volume discounts even when lower
volumes are ordered. Some of the chains regularly delayed payments for
more than 30 days after delivery. Some purchased products at a
negotiated promotional price and then sold them to consumers at full

Gathering information for the report was not easy. The Commission noted
that the chains had created a "climate of apprehension" among suppliers,

many of whom were reluctant to share information for fear of reprisals.

The report found that the supermarkets' anti-competitive practices have
also harmed independent grocers. Small stores are "doubly
disadvantaged," the Commission concluded. Not only do they lack the
muscle to obtain the same favorable terms their big competitors get, but

they are in fact often paying higher prices as suppliers seek to make-up

for losses incurred dealing with the major chains. Between 1961 and
1997, the number of independent grocers fell from 116,000 to 21,000.

The Commission's report recommended that the government issue a binding
code of practice to govern how major chains deal with their suppliers.
One year later, the Department of Trade and Industry released its Code
of Practice.

The final version, which was written in consultation with the major
chains, is substantially weaker than the recommendations made by the
Competition Commission. For example, practices which the Commission had
said supermarkets should not in any circumstances undertake, the final
Code says they shall not undertake "unreasonably" or without prior
written consent from the supplier. Most suppliers are not in a position
to refuse such requests, noted critics.

British farmers are facing both low prices and declining marketshare. As

British chains have grown larger and more globally minded, especially
after Wal-Mart purchased the Asda chain in 1998, they have increasingly
dropped domestic food in favor of imports. As part of its Real Food
Campaign, Friends of the Earth surveyed supermarkets and found that,
during the peak of the British harvest, only 25-43 percent of the apples

and pears sold at the top four chains were homegrown.

The Council for the Protection of Rural England (CPRE) has been studying

the important symbiotic relationship between farmers and locally owned
food shops. In a study of the East Suffolk region, CPRE found that 81
local shops relied on 295 local produces for both raw foods (produce,
eggs, meat) and secondary products (jams, bread, sauces). Many of the
farms were too small to supply the large chains.

-- Department of Trade and Industry's Code of Practice for Supermarkets:

-- Competition Commission. "Supermarkets: A report on the supply of
groceries from multiple stores in the United Kingdom" October 2001.
-- Friends of the Earth's Real Food Campaign:
-- Council for the Protection of Rural England: http://www.cpre.org.uk/
-- National Farmers Union: http://www.foe.co.uk/campaigns/real_food
-- Farmers for Action: http://www.farmersforaction.org


In January, Canada's university and college bookstores filed a complaint

with federal competition officials over attempts by Indigo, the
country's largest book chain, to assume control of campus bookstores.

The complaint contends that Indigo is violating the terms of a consent
order reached with the Canadian Competition Bureau last year. In
exchange for approving Indigo's acquisition of Chapters, the country's
other major bookstore chain, the Bureau required that Indigo refrain
from further expansion until mid-2003.

But this fall an Indigo subsidiary approached several universities
offering to take control of their bookstores in exchange for an annual
payment to the institution. Indigo already runs bookstores at McGill
University in Montreal and four small Ontario colleges through
arrangements that predate the Chapters merger.

The Eastern Association of College Stores and the Western Canadian
College Stores Association have filed a formal complaint with the
Competition Bureau. Their complaint is supported by the Canadian
Booksellers Association, which represents independent bookstores. "No
new retail is pretty clear," said Todd Anderson, president of the CBA
and director of the University of Alberta Bookstore. "So our position is

they shouldn't be able to open any new retail outlets."

The Competition Bureau says it will have to wait until Indigo inks a
deal with a college before addressing the complaint.

Barnes & Noble owns a 49 percent share in the Indigo campus bookstore
subsidiary. In the U.S., Barnes & Noble has been aggressively moving
into the campus market and now controls 429 campus bookstores.

In the U.S., campus bookstores are a $10 billion industry. About half of

colleges and universities run their own bookstores. Another 17 percent,
mostly small colleges, have partnerships with off-campus, privately run
bookstores. A growing number of institutions are out-sourcing management

of their stores. Outside companies now control about one-quarter of
campus bookstores. The major players are Barnes & Noble and Follett,
which runs 650 stores.

In exchange for their stores, universities receive a fixed annual
payment and usually realize a substantial short-term gain from the sale
of their inventories.

Critics argue that privatization is not in the best interests of
students. Roger Reynolds, president of the Mountain States College
Stores Association, contends that the chains can buy in bulk, but they
do not pass those savings on to students. They also tend to be less
flexible in meeting faculty needs and may have exclusive relationships
with some publishers that preclude other suppliers.

Universities do not often solicit a third-party study on the costs and
benefits of privatization. Those that do often change course. Last year,

Utah State University and Weber State University dropped plans to
contract out their bookstores following independent reviews.

Locally owned bookstores rarely bid to manage campus stores. They are at

a disadvantage as administrators generally favor companies with
substantial resources and a campus track record.

Some, however, are competing head-to-head with campus stores. A New York

appeals court recently ruled that faculty book lists must be made
available to any store that requests them. The case was brought by an
independent bookstore seeking to offer students at SUNY-Albany an
alternative to the campus Barnes & Noble. Under a now invalid
exclusivity agreement with the chain, the university had barred faculty
from sharing their book lists with competitors.

-- Canadian Booksellers Association: http://www.cbabook.org



A new Salt Lake City map offers residents and visitors a colorful and
handy reference for finding more than 100 unique, locally owned

The full color, fold-up map was created by the Salt Lake Vest Pocket
Business Coalition, an alliance of 200 independent businesses. One side
shows the city's streets, with illustrations of major landmarks and
buildings housing local businesses. The other side includes a directory
of the businesses with map grid points, neighborhood descriptions,
information on charities supported by Vest Pocket members, and
highlights of various awards member businesses have received.

Vest Pocket printed 50,000 copies of the maps and has distributed them
at local stores, hotels, and the Convention and Visitor Bureau.

The coalition was launched three years ago to protect Salt Lake's unique

character by ensuring that its locally owned businesses continued to be
a thriving part of the community. The group now has nearly 200 members.

Vest Pocket has long dreamed of creating a map, but lacked the
resources. Then, late last fall, a chance comment by one member was
overheard by Scott Anderson, president of the local Zion's Bank, who
offered to fund the map.

In a one-month marathon, the volunteer-run coalition managed to pull the

map together just in time for the Olympics. The maps will be distributed

year-round and new editions will be issued annually.

Vest Pocket has undergone significant growth and organizational
development in the last year. It is now in the process of hiring a
part-time executive director.

Over the next year, Vest Pocket hopes to continue building public
awareness and to increase its membership by adding new benefits, such as

health insurance, group purchasing, and a frequent buyer or smart card
program. Another new initiative is a mentor program that will link
established businesses with new entrepreneurs.

"We also have to become more effective at how we work with City Hall,"
notes Elizabeth Guss, president of the coalition's board. Since its
inception, Vest Pocket has aimed to provide a voice for independent
businesses in government decision-making. "Too often, when cities think
about growth and tax revenue, they focus on attracting large chains. We
need a different approach."

-- the Map: http://www.vestpocket.org/map.html
-- Salt Lake City Vest Pocket Business Coalition:



An upcoming conference in Vermont will focus on how institutions, such
as universities and hospitals, can redirect their employment and
purchasing policies to strengthen local businesses. "Vermont Economic
Engines in Action: How College, Hospital, Corporate and Government
Expenditures Can Strengthen Local Businesses, Communities and the
Environment" will be held at the Sheraton Hotel in Burlington on April
12 from 9:00-4:00. The keynote speaker is Michael Shuman, author of the
book Going Local: Creating Self-Reliant Communities in a Global Age. The

chief sponsor of the conference is the University of Vermont Community
Outreach Partnership Center, which can be reached at 802-656-0095 or


Community Rules, a new resource book from the  Conservation Law
Foundation and the Vermont Forum on Sprawl, offers step-by-step
guidelines for stopping sprawl. Each chapter outlines numerous concrete
land use measures and other policy options, complete with real-world
examples and strategy tips for implementing the policies. Although the
book's discussion of chains and big box retail is fairly brief, the
chapter on creating vibrant town centers offers a good overview of
planning and zoning tools for reviving and preserving downtowns as the
center of commerce and community life. Although the book is geared
towards New England, most of the information is more broadly applicable
and would be useful to citizens and planners nationwide.

-- To order Community Rules, contact the Conservation Law Foundation:
-- Vermont Forum on Sprawl: http://www.vtsprawl.org


According to Sprawl-Busters' annual count, Wal-Mart now has a record 396

empty stores. That means 11 percent of the company's U.S. stores are
shuttered. A substantial number of these blighted boxes---40
percent---have been empty for more than three years. Wal-Mart isn't the
only one; many big box retailers are abandoning stores across the
country. For more and to find out where your state stands, visit:


Several years ago, the tide of big box stores swept across Canada, led
by Wal-Mart, the largest company in the world. In 1995, the tide reached

Guelph, Ontario, and stopped. While a few smaller boxes have found their

way in, Guelph is the only Ontario community of its size (100,000)
without a Wal-Mart. A new book from Ben Bennett and Gail McCormack
explains why. Guelph Against Goliath is a detailed account, public
meeting by public meeting, of the community's seven year fight to stop
Wal-Mart. It includes a CD-ROM with presentations, affidavits, and other

legal documents. For more, see http://www.bbc.guelph.org.

Copyright 2002 by the Institute for Local Self-Reliance.

No portion of this bulletin, except for brief quotations with
attribution, may be reproduced or utilized in any form without
permission from the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, 1313 5th Street
SE, Minneapolis MN 55414 - Tel: 612-379-3815 - Fax: 612-379-3920 - Web:
http://www.ilsr.org - Email: smitchell@ilsr.org.


Stacy Mitchell
Institute for Local Self-Reliance
1313 5th Street SE
Minneapolis, MN 55414

Minneapolis Office: (612) 379-3815
Direct: (207) 774-6792

New Rules Project: http://www.newrules.org
ILSR: http://www.ilsr.org

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