Commentary: “Food Miles” Cannot Be Discussed in Isolation From Land Use Policies

Share:
Recently in the Davis Enterprise, John Mott-Smith had a provocative piece on the importance of keeping down food miles.

From our perspective there are actually two issues that are important in food miles. First the distance that the food travels to stores. Second, the distance that we travel to stores to get the food.

In arguing for reduction in distance that food is transported, Mr. Mott-Smith writes:

“Generally, locally grown food purchased in season is fresher, more healthful and requires less energy to produce and transport to market, and we should encourage stores and restaurants to provide food that is produced locally.”

Second he argued for neighborhood grocery stores:

“How we get to the market to buy the food is also important. One of the best things we can do is walk or bike to the store. Of course, whether we can walk or bike to a store depends on whether there is a food store near where we live.

Not too long ago, there was a food store within a half-mile of every resident in Davis. The trend to larger stores has been one cause of the closure of several of these “neighborhood stores.” As the effects of climate change and “peak oil” make themselves felt in our economy and our daily lives, having essential services such as a grocery store accessible to each neighborhood will be an important element in reducing the number and distance of vehicle trips in the community.”

Extending his argument out further, what he is really talking about, is having grocery stores that are locally owned and operated and also small and conveniently located within our neighborhoods.

As we have spent much time discussing this year, we have moved away from the neighborhood grocery store model and towards a centralized model with large supermarkets–the two Safeways and the Nugget on East Covell.

Davis Manor, West Lake, and University Mall no longer have their neighborhood grocery stores.

At the same time, a store like Safeway is particularly harmful for the environment and the economy of a place like Davis. They transport all of their food in–this requires large amounts of fossil fuel burning.

And as we have mentioned previously, they take in money from this community and then transport it back to Oakland. The profits go to Oakland. They sit in an Oakland bank. In other words, they suck money out of the community, give a small amount back to their employees, give a small amount back in tax dollars, most of the money leaks out.

This is the argument not only against large national supermarket chains, but against all national chains and big-box stores.

They sound alluring for the consumer offering a broad array of choices and at times better prices (if you catch their items on sale), but in terms of health to the local economy, that health is illusive at best.

Particularly bad, is a store like Target. The city projects a tax revenue of roughly $600,000 from Target. I actually think that’s optimistic once you figure in lost revenue and stores going out of business in the core and the cost of public safety.

But the problem with a place like Target from both an environmental and an economic standpoint, is the habits that people will have to undertake to get there, to get merchandise there, to work there, and to purchase products there.

The economic benefits are actually quite limited. The majority of the products sold there will be imported from elsewhere. The money will be sent to their corporate offices. Their employees will largely be imported in from West Sacramento, Woodland, and Dixon. Thus they will use the majority of their money to purchase goods and services out of town. Why? Because they cannot afford to live in Davis on Target wages.

It is nice to have a revenue base in a city, but where business really helps is the multiplier effect. Here’s an example. If I live in Davis and open up a business the revenue I make in Davis gets spent by me primarily in Davis. I hire employees, they live in Davis, the money that they earn is then spent on goods and services in Davis primarily. And the money that is spent on goods and services goes to other people who spent their earnings on the same and down the line. In other words, the more money spent in Davis that stays in Davis simply proliferates around the community.

On the other hand, if I spend money and it goes to Oakland or Minneapolis, that does not happen. It does not benefit Davis.

So from an economic perspective, local communities are best off having local business who buy their products locally. From an environmental perspective, we are the same.

This all sounds good but then consumers stick their noses into the argument at this point and tell us that they want to be able to choose from a broad selection and consume the products that they want at a cheap price.

The two responses to that point should be that if you believe we are facing an impending global warming crisis, then you need to change your consumption habits. We will not get the deep cuts in carbon and greenhouse gas emissions without changing our behavior.

Second, everyone talks about how much cheaper big-box stores are than other stores, for the most part that’s actually not true. Studies have shown that what actually happens is that big-box stores cherry pick on a few products that are recognizable and charge less. They also have a tendency to charge less when they move into an area, drive out competition, and then adjust to market rate prices.

Everyone talks about how expensive Nugget is. The only difference between Nugget prices and Safeway prices are that Safeway has more frequent sales and they rotate their sales. So if you catch a product on sale, yes it is cheaper, but the base price of Safeway products are as expensive as Nugget. So what generally happens is that consumers will purchase some products on sale but for the most part will buy products that are not on sale and end up spending about the same.

The bottom line is that we have come to accept our market rather than to change it. Just because right now big-box and national chains appear to offer more products at a better price does not mean we are stuck with having to use those environmentally and economically harmful vendors.

At the local level we need to fight to make local business more competitive. That is something that a city council can do. Give local business incentives and benefits that will enable them to be competitive against the national chains.

In the end John Mott-Smith wrote an interesting piece about food miles, but he did not go far enough talking about policies in the city to encourage neighborhood grocery stores. He did not extend those discussion to beyond food. He did not get into the difficult political areas of discussion that will be needed to enact the type of changes he advocates.

In the coming weeks we’ll be talking on the Vanguard about the impact of city driven-policies toward the reduction of carbon emissions and one of the areas that we need to focus on is the disconnect between the council’s words on climate change and their actions and land use policies.

—Doug Paul Davis reporting

Share:

About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

Related posts

136 thoughts on “Commentary: “Food Miles” Cannot Be Discussed in Isolation From Land Use Policies”

  1. Clint

    Aren’t there a number of empty buildings that once served as neighborhood grocery stores, and could easily be used for this purpose again? It seems to me that the reason we don’t have more decentralized food shopping opportunities has more to do with the realities of food economics and shopping patterns. Davis residents already drive to Woodland and Dixon to “save money” when they could purchase for a bit more in Davis. In my own household, my spouse periodically questions why we’re shopping at the Davis Food Co-op (which I believe provides the best alternative in our town, and you neglected to mention) and the Farmers Market when we could “save so much money” by going to one of the other stores.

    Just like the residential real estate market, retail space in Davis carries a premium pricetag. Couple that with higher food prices, enough people with a willingness to pay more, and a very small profit margin for food, it’s difficult to see how we could have more small locally-owned and run food stores in Davis (unless the owner ran it as a charity).

  2. Clint

    Aren’t there a number of empty buildings that once served as neighborhood grocery stores, and could easily be used for this purpose again? It seems to me that the reason we don’t have more decentralized food shopping opportunities has more to do with the realities of food economics and shopping patterns. Davis residents already drive to Woodland and Dixon to “save money” when they could purchase for a bit more in Davis. In my own household, my spouse periodically questions why we’re shopping at the Davis Food Co-op (which I believe provides the best alternative in our town, and you neglected to mention) and the Farmers Market when we could “save so much money” by going to one of the other stores.

    Just like the residential real estate market, retail space in Davis carries a premium pricetag. Couple that with higher food prices, enough people with a willingness to pay more, and a very small profit margin for food, it’s difficult to see how we could have more small locally-owned and run food stores in Davis (unless the owner ran it as a charity).

  3. Clint

    Aren’t there a number of empty buildings that once served as neighborhood grocery stores, and could easily be used for this purpose again? It seems to me that the reason we don’t have more decentralized food shopping opportunities has more to do with the realities of food economics and shopping patterns. Davis residents already drive to Woodland and Dixon to “save money” when they could purchase for a bit more in Davis. In my own household, my spouse periodically questions why we’re shopping at the Davis Food Co-op (which I believe provides the best alternative in our town, and you neglected to mention) and the Farmers Market when we could “save so much money” by going to one of the other stores.

    Just like the residential real estate market, retail space in Davis carries a premium pricetag. Couple that with higher food prices, enough people with a willingness to pay more, and a very small profit margin for food, it’s difficult to see how we could have more small locally-owned and run food stores in Davis (unless the owner ran it as a charity).

  4. Clint

    Aren’t there a number of empty buildings that once served as neighborhood grocery stores, and could easily be used for this purpose again? It seems to me that the reason we don’t have more decentralized food shopping opportunities has more to do with the realities of food economics and shopping patterns. Davis residents already drive to Woodland and Dixon to “save money” when they could purchase for a bit more in Davis. In my own household, my spouse periodically questions why we’re shopping at the Davis Food Co-op (which I believe provides the best alternative in our town, and you neglected to mention) and the Farmers Market when we could “save so much money” by going to one of the other stores.

    Just like the residential real estate market, retail space in Davis carries a premium pricetag. Couple that with higher food prices, enough people with a willingness to pay more, and a very small profit margin for food, it’s difficult to see how we could have more small locally-owned and run food stores in Davis (unless the owner ran it as a charity).

  5. Anonymous

    Has anyone really studied big store/small store carbon emissions? Food has to arrive from somewhere and it can not be all locally sourced. If I took one pound of food from each type of store (big/small) I wonder how many hydrocarbons were used to get it from the food source to the store. I assume big chain stores have huge distribution scale advantages that might offset the distance the food actually travels. I do not know.

    Also, if you compare a big market like Safeway to a less big market like Trader Joes I am certain there are more “food miles” in the average Trader Joes product. But I like Trader Joes for that very reason – I like unusual products and many are foreign sourced.

    I do walk to the store but normally I can not because of the weight of things being bought – like bottled water. When I went to China I asked a local guy how could he tell the difference between a European and an American. He told me Americans are easy to identify because the all carry a bottle of water. That product is a complete waste of hydrocarbons.

  6. Anonymous

    Has anyone really studied big store/small store carbon emissions? Food has to arrive from somewhere and it can not be all locally sourced. If I took one pound of food from each type of store (big/small) I wonder how many hydrocarbons were used to get it from the food source to the store. I assume big chain stores have huge distribution scale advantages that might offset the distance the food actually travels. I do not know.

    Also, if you compare a big market like Safeway to a less big market like Trader Joes I am certain there are more “food miles” in the average Trader Joes product. But I like Trader Joes for that very reason – I like unusual products and many are foreign sourced.

    I do walk to the store but normally I can not because of the weight of things being bought – like bottled water. When I went to China I asked a local guy how could he tell the difference between a European and an American. He told me Americans are easy to identify because the all carry a bottle of water. That product is a complete waste of hydrocarbons.

  7. Anonymous

    Has anyone really studied big store/small store carbon emissions? Food has to arrive from somewhere and it can not be all locally sourced. If I took one pound of food from each type of store (big/small) I wonder how many hydrocarbons were used to get it from the food source to the store. I assume big chain stores have huge distribution scale advantages that might offset the distance the food actually travels. I do not know.

    Also, if you compare a big market like Safeway to a less big market like Trader Joes I am certain there are more “food miles” in the average Trader Joes product. But I like Trader Joes for that very reason – I like unusual products and many are foreign sourced.

    I do walk to the store but normally I can not because of the weight of things being bought – like bottled water. When I went to China I asked a local guy how could he tell the difference between a European and an American. He told me Americans are easy to identify because the all carry a bottle of water. That product is a complete waste of hydrocarbons.

  8. Anonymous

    Has anyone really studied big store/small store carbon emissions? Food has to arrive from somewhere and it can not be all locally sourced. If I took one pound of food from each type of store (big/small) I wonder how many hydrocarbons were used to get it from the food source to the store. I assume big chain stores have huge distribution scale advantages that might offset the distance the food actually travels. I do not know.

    Also, if you compare a big market like Safeway to a less big market like Trader Joes I am certain there are more “food miles” in the average Trader Joes product. But I like Trader Joes for that very reason – I like unusual products and many are foreign sourced.

    I do walk to the store but normally I can not because of the weight of things being bought – like bottled water. When I went to China I asked a local guy how could he tell the difference between a European and an American. He told me Americans are easy to identify because the all carry a bottle of water. That product is a complete waste of hydrocarbons.

  9. Anonymous

    While I am sympathetic to many of the points John raised, I have to say, in concert with the first posting on this item that consumer behavior will determine what occurs in the interface between food acquisition and the expenditure of fuel to secure it. Government and land-use policies will have much less impact. This is principally because we have intra-regional economies at play. No one likes to admit it and Davis residents in particular seem blind to it but there is a considerable amount of economic activity that takes places within smaller sub-regions that we don’t like to admit. For example, Woodland in effect serves as Davis’ marketplace. There are exceptions, Davis has a more vibrant downtown and the best farmer’s market in the Valley but go to Target in Woodland and you will see a great many Davis shoppers. When the Costco opens it will be filled with Davis shoppers. This is simply because, social interests aside, consumers will travel for better prices, product availability, etc. And the distances are not sufficient to deter them from doing so. Yes, neighborhood shopping centers are useful but consumers will still make their own choices. You’ll note that policy makers, politicians and the Davis rabble who opposed stores like Nugget (oh yes, some of us still remember that one!)will never acknowledge this sub-regional or intra-regional commerce but it’s there and until policies acknowledge and we begin to frame our deliberations in its context, we’re left with the same old thinking that keeps us contained in the same old box.

    Thanks!

  10. Anonymous

    While I am sympathetic to many of the points John raised, I have to say, in concert with the first posting on this item that consumer behavior will determine what occurs in the interface between food acquisition and the expenditure of fuel to secure it. Government and land-use policies will have much less impact. This is principally because we have intra-regional economies at play. No one likes to admit it and Davis residents in particular seem blind to it but there is a considerable amount of economic activity that takes places within smaller sub-regions that we don’t like to admit. For example, Woodland in effect serves as Davis’ marketplace. There are exceptions, Davis has a more vibrant downtown and the best farmer’s market in the Valley but go to Target in Woodland and you will see a great many Davis shoppers. When the Costco opens it will be filled with Davis shoppers. This is simply because, social interests aside, consumers will travel for better prices, product availability, etc. And the distances are not sufficient to deter them from doing so. Yes, neighborhood shopping centers are useful but consumers will still make their own choices. You’ll note that policy makers, politicians and the Davis rabble who opposed stores like Nugget (oh yes, some of us still remember that one!)will never acknowledge this sub-regional or intra-regional commerce but it’s there and until policies acknowledge and we begin to frame our deliberations in its context, we’re left with the same old thinking that keeps us contained in the same old box.

    Thanks!

  11. Anonymous

    While I am sympathetic to many of the points John raised, I have to say, in concert with the first posting on this item that consumer behavior will determine what occurs in the interface between food acquisition and the expenditure of fuel to secure it. Government and land-use policies will have much less impact. This is principally because we have intra-regional economies at play. No one likes to admit it and Davis residents in particular seem blind to it but there is a considerable amount of economic activity that takes places within smaller sub-regions that we don’t like to admit. For example, Woodland in effect serves as Davis’ marketplace. There are exceptions, Davis has a more vibrant downtown and the best farmer’s market in the Valley but go to Target in Woodland and you will see a great many Davis shoppers. When the Costco opens it will be filled with Davis shoppers. This is simply because, social interests aside, consumers will travel for better prices, product availability, etc. And the distances are not sufficient to deter them from doing so. Yes, neighborhood shopping centers are useful but consumers will still make their own choices. You’ll note that policy makers, politicians and the Davis rabble who opposed stores like Nugget (oh yes, some of us still remember that one!)will never acknowledge this sub-regional or intra-regional commerce but it’s there and until policies acknowledge and we begin to frame our deliberations in its context, we’re left with the same old thinking that keeps us contained in the same old box.

    Thanks!

  12. Anonymous

    While I am sympathetic to many of the points John raised, I have to say, in concert with the first posting on this item that consumer behavior will determine what occurs in the interface between food acquisition and the expenditure of fuel to secure it. Government and land-use policies will have much less impact. This is principally because we have intra-regional economies at play. No one likes to admit it and Davis residents in particular seem blind to it but there is a considerable amount of economic activity that takes places within smaller sub-regions that we don’t like to admit. For example, Woodland in effect serves as Davis’ marketplace. There are exceptions, Davis has a more vibrant downtown and the best farmer’s market in the Valley but go to Target in Woodland and you will see a great many Davis shoppers. When the Costco opens it will be filled with Davis shoppers. This is simply because, social interests aside, consumers will travel for better prices, product availability, etc. And the distances are not sufficient to deter them from doing so. Yes, neighborhood shopping centers are useful but consumers will still make their own choices. You’ll note that policy makers, politicians and the Davis rabble who opposed stores like Nugget (oh yes, some of us still remember that one!)will never acknowledge this sub-regional or intra-regional commerce but it’s there and until policies acknowledge and we begin to frame our deliberations in its context, we’re left with the same old thinking that keeps us contained in the same old box.

    Thanks!

  13. Rich Rifkin

    “they take in money from this community and then transport it back to Oakland. The profits go to Oakland. They sit in an Oakland bank. In other words, they suck money out of the community, give a small amount back to their employees, give a small amount back in tax dollars, most of the money leaks out.”

    This is just wrong in every respect. It is mercantilist and a complete misunderstanding of how capitalism works. It makes it clear you don’t understand the basics of the advantages of trade.

    If you follow this illogical argument, we should not trade with any other countries, when it’s possible to produce the items we buy from them. That is the 1775 lesson for the poverty of nations. Adam Smith is turning over in his grave.

    You simply don’t understand that if Resident A in Davis buys carrots, for example, at Safeway for 69 cents a pound, as opposed to buying carrots for 99 cents a pound at Theoretical Locally Owned Store X, his 33 cents savings in his pocket far exceed the 2 cents of profit Safeway made on that sale of carrots.

    You might counter that Store X’s carrots are a superior product. That well may be true to you, but not to that consumer, who would rather have his 33 cents in savings, which he can either invest or consume other products which he prefers.

    Regarding all that bogus mumbo jumbo about an economic rationale for not buying products produced elsewhere because of the shipping costs, you again show your ignorance of economics. We would not buy grapes from Chile, for example, if the shipping costs caused the prices to be too high or if we didn’t think the quality was good enough. But we do buy produce from very distant countries (and they buy ours, as well), because the shipping costs are not prohibitive at all.

    It may be the case down the road that this changes, that shipping costs (in a world of high fuel prices) makes Chilean grapes too expensive. But certainly, that is untrue, today.

    What is far more likely down the road to cause us to import less foodstuffs and other foreign made goods is the increasingly weak dollar, which naturally makes imports more expensive to us.

    Finally, if you believe that the true costs of products at one store, say Target, are higher than the list price because Target does not fully pay for the consequences of its carbon emissions, then the only answer to this is to impose a carbon tax, so that such effluent costs are internalized. But it will probably turn out, if you do impose a carbon tax — something I have advocated — that the efficiencies of stores like Target and Wal-Mart will cause them to have an even greater advantage over mom-and-pop shops than they already have.

  14. Rich Rifkin

    “they take in money from this community and then transport it back to Oakland. The profits go to Oakland. They sit in an Oakland bank. In other words, they suck money out of the community, give a small amount back to their employees, give a small amount back in tax dollars, most of the money leaks out.”

    This is just wrong in every respect. It is mercantilist and a complete misunderstanding of how capitalism works. It makes it clear you don’t understand the basics of the advantages of trade.

    If you follow this illogical argument, we should not trade with any other countries, when it’s possible to produce the items we buy from them. That is the 1775 lesson for the poverty of nations. Adam Smith is turning over in his grave.

    You simply don’t understand that if Resident A in Davis buys carrots, for example, at Safeway for 69 cents a pound, as opposed to buying carrots for 99 cents a pound at Theoretical Locally Owned Store X, his 33 cents savings in his pocket far exceed the 2 cents of profit Safeway made on that sale of carrots.

    You might counter that Store X’s carrots are a superior product. That well may be true to you, but not to that consumer, who would rather have his 33 cents in savings, which he can either invest or consume other products which he prefers.

    Regarding all that bogus mumbo jumbo about an economic rationale for not buying products produced elsewhere because of the shipping costs, you again show your ignorance of economics. We would not buy grapes from Chile, for example, if the shipping costs caused the prices to be too high or if we didn’t think the quality was good enough. But we do buy produce from very distant countries (and they buy ours, as well), because the shipping costs are not prohibitive at all.

    It may be the case down the road that this changes, that shipping costs (in a world of high fuel prices) makes Chilean grapes too expensive. But certainly, that is untrue, today.

    What is far more likely down the road to cause us to import less foodstuffs and other foreign made goods is the increasingly weak dollar, which naturally makes imports more expensive to us.

    Finally, if you believe that the true costs of products at one store, say Target, are higher than the list price because Target does not fully pay for the consequences of its carbon emissions, then the only answer to this is to impose a carbon tax, so that such effluent costs are internalized. But it will probably turn out, if you do impose a carbon tax — something I have advocated — that the efficiencies of stores like Target and Wal-Mart will cause them to have an even greater advantage over mom-and-pop shops than they already have.

  15. Rich Rifkin

    “they take in money from this community and then transport it back to Oakland. The profits go to Oakland. They sit in an Oakland bank. In other words, they suck money out of the community, give a small amount back to their employees, give a small amount back in tax dollars, most of the money leaks out.”

    This is just wrong in every respect. It is mercantilist and a complete misunderstanding of how capitalism works. It makes it clear you don’t understand the basics of the advantages of trade.

    If you follow this illogical argument, we should not trade with any other countries, when it’s possible to produce the items we buy from them. That is the 1775 lesson for the poverty of nations. Adam Smith is turning over in his grave.

    You simply don’t understand that if Resident A in Davis buys carrots, for example, at Safeway for 69 cents a pound, as opposed to buying carrots for 99 cents a pound at Theoretical Locally Owned Store X, his 33 cents savings in his pocket far exceed the 2 cents of profit Safeway made on that sale of carrots.

    You might counter that Store X’s carrots are a superior product. That well may be true to you, but not to that consumer, who would rather have his 33 cents in savings, which he can either invest or consume other products which he prefers.

    Regarding all that bogus mumbo jumbo about an economic rationale for not buying products produced elsewhere because of the shipping costs, you again show your ignorance of economics. We would not buy grapes from Chile, for example, if the shipping costs caused the prices to be too high or if we didn’t think the quality was good enough. But we do buy produce from very distant countries (and they buy ours, as well), because the shipping costs are not prohibitive at all.

    It may be the case down the road that this changes, that shipping costs (in a world of high fuel prices) makes Chilean grapes too expensive. But certainly, that is untrue, today.

    What is far more likely down the road to cause us to import less foodstuffs and other foreign made goods is the increasingly weak dollar, which naturally makes imports more expensive to us.

    Finally, if you believe that the true costs of products at one store, say Target, are higher than the list price because Target does not fully pay for the consequences of its carbon emissions, then the only answer to this is to impose a carbon tax, so that such effluent costs are internalized. But it will probably turn out, if you do impose a carbon tax — something I have advocated — that the efficiencies of stores like Target and Wal-Mart will cause them to have an even greater advantage over mom-and-pop shops than they already have.

  16. Rich Rifkin

    “they take in money from this community and then transport it back to Oakland. The profits go to Oakland. They sit in an Oakland bank. In other words, they suck money out of the community, give a small amount back to their employees, give a small amount back in tax dollars, most of the money leaks out.”

    This is just wrong in every respect. It is mercantilist and a complete misunderstanding of how capitalism works. It makes it clear you don’t understand the basics of the advantages of trade.

    If you follow this illogical argument, we should not trade with any other countries, when it’s possible to produce the items we buy from them. That is the 1775 lesson for the poverty of nations. Adam Smith is turning over in his grave.

    You simply don’t understand that if Resident A in Davis buys carrots, for example, at Safeway for 69 cents a pound, as opposed to buying carrots for 99 cents a pound at Theoretical Locally Owned Store X, his 33 cents savings in his pocket far exceed the 2 cents of profit Safeway made on that sale of carrots.

    You might counter that Store X’s carrots are a superior product. That well may be true to you, but not to that consumer, who would rather have his 33 cents in savings, which he can either invest or consume other products which he prefers.

    Regarding all that bogus mumbo jumbo about an economic rationale for not buying products produced elsewhere because of the shipping costs, you again show your ignorance of economics. We would not buy grapes from Chile, for example, if the shipping costs caused the prices to be too high or if we didn’t think the quality was good enough. But we do buy produce from very distant countries (and they buy ours, as well), because the shipping costs are not prohibitive at all.

    It may be the case down the road that this changes, that shipping costs (in a world of high fuel prices) makes Chilean grapes too expensive. But certainly, that is untrue, today.

    What is far more likely down the road to cause us to import less foodstuffs and other foreign made goods is the increasingly weak dollar, which naturally makes imports more expensive to us.

    Finally, if you believe that the true costs of products at one store, say Target, are higher than the list price because Target does not fully pay for the consequences of its carbon emissions, then the only answer to this is to impose a carbon tax, so that such effluent costs are internalized. But it will probably turn out, if you do impose a carbon tax — something I have advocated — that the efficiencies of stores like Target and Wal-Mart will cause them to have an even greater advantage over mom-and-pop shops than they already have.

  17. Rich Rifkin

    If people living in a Davis neighborhood without a supermarket really believe 1) that there is enough demand in their neighborhood for a grocery store and 2) that outside supermarket operators are stripping the community of its wealth by moving “the profits” out of our area, then those people in that Davis neighborhood ought to start their own co-op grocery store, one which carries all the products the neighbors so desire.

    That is not all that different from how the Davis Food Co-op got started. Back in the days when the Co-op was over at 5th & L, it was mostly just a buyer’s club for people unsatisfied with the offerings of the chain grocery stores in town. The original co-opsters wanted things like organic produce and other food they believed was healthy and they thought they could buy them collectively and sell them more cheaply to their members, who provided a lot of volunteer time and labor.

    The Davis Food Co-op was a success then, and has continued to thrive, although they’ve never been cheaper than the chain groceries. But they do provide a quality alternative which never has been matched by the commercial supermarkets in Davis. And from the time they moved over to G Street, they’ve done well as an alternative full-service store.

    If there is as much enthusiasm for neighborhood stores today as there was in the early 1970s for “alternative” stores like the co-op, then that should be the model for these disgruntled neighbors. It should not be to use the force of law to prevent the rest of us from shopping for the best prices and buying the products we prefer.

  18. Rich Rifkin

    If people living in a Davis neighborhood without a supermarket really believe 1) that there is enough demand in their neighborhood for a grocery store and 2) that outside supermarket operators are stripping the community of its wealth by moving “the profits” out of our area, then those people in that Davis neighborhood ought to start their own co-op grocery store, one which carries all the products the neighbors so desire.

    That is not all that different from how the Davis Food Co-op got started. Back in the days when the Co-op was over at 5th & L, it was mostly just a buyer’s club for people unsatisfied with the offerings of the chain grocery stores in town. The original co-opsters wanted things like organic produce and other food they believed was healthy and they thought they could buy them collectively and sell them more cheaply to their members, who provided a lot of volunteer time and labor.

    The Davis Food Co-op was a success then, and has continued to thrive, although they’ve never been cheaper than the chain groceries. But they do provide a quality alternative which never has been matched by the commercial supermarkets in Davis. And from the time they moved over to G Street, they’ve done well as an alternative full-service store.

    If there is as much enthusiasm for neighborhood stores today as there was in the early 1970s for “alternative” stores like the co-op, then that should be the model for these disgruntled neighbors. It should not be to use the force of law to prevent the rest of us from shopping for the best prices and buying the products we prefer.

  19. Rich Rifkin

    If people living in a Davis neighborhood without a supermarket really believe 1) that there is enough demand in their neighborhood for a grocery store and 2) that outside supermarket operators are stripping the community of its wealth by moving “the profits” out of our area, then those people in that Davis neighborhood ought to start their own co-op grocery store, one which carries all the products the neighbors so desire.

    That is not all that different from how the Davis Food Co-op got started. Back in the days when the Co-op was over at 5th & L, it was mostly just a buyer’s club for people unsatisfied with the offerings of the chain grocery stores in town. The original co-opsters wanted things like organic produce and other food they believed was healthy and they thought they could buy them collectively and sell them more cheaply to their members, who provided a lot of volunteer time and labor.

    The Davis Food Co-op was a success then, and has continued to thrive, although they’ve never been cheaper than the chain groceries. But they do provide a quality alternative which never has been matched by the commercial supermarkets in Davis. And from the time they moved over to G Street, they’ve done well as an alternative full-service store.

    If there is as much enthusiasm for neighborhood stores today as there was in the early 1970s for “alternative” stores like the co-op, then that should be the model for these disgruntled neighbors. It should not be to use the force of law to prevent the rest of us from shopping for the best prices and buying the products we prefer.

  20. Rich Rifkin

    If people living in a Davis neighborhood without a supermarket really believe 1) that there is enough demand in their neighborhood for a grocery store and 2) that outside supermarket operators are stripping the community of its wealth by moving “the profits” out of our area, then those people in that Davis neighborhood ought to start their own co-op grocery store, one which carries all the products the neighbors so desire.

    That is not all that different from how the Davis Food Co-op got started. Back in the days when the Co-op was over at 5th & L, it was mostly just a buyer’s club for people unsatisfied with the offerings of the chain grocery stores in town. The original co-opsters wanted things like organic produce and other food they believed was healthy and they thought they could buy them collectively and sell them more cheaply to their members, who provided a lot of volunteer time and labor.

    The Davis Food Co-op was a success then, and has continued to thrive, although they’ve never been cheaper than the chain groceries. But they do provide a quality alternative which never has been matched by the commercial supermarkets in Davis. And from the time they moved over to G Street, they’ve done well as an alternative full-service store.

    If there is as much enthusiasm for neighborhood stores today as there was in the early 1970s for “alternative” stores like the co-op, then that should be the model for these disgruntled neighbors. It should not be to use the force of law to prevent the rest of us from shopping for the best prices and buying the products we prefer.

  21. NE

    Rich –

    Can’t you write without being disrespectful?

    I agree with DPD and I’m sure many others do too that we would like to have neighborhood stores once again…that carry locally grown food. What is wrong with that?

    Stores do buy produce and meat from other countries and not only does it create a negative impact on the environment, but the food is not as fresh.

    The tone of your post makes it so unpleasant to read.

  22. NE

    Rich –

    Can’t you write without being disrespectful?

    I agree with DPD and I’m sure many others do too that we would like to have neighborhood stores once again…that carry locally grown food. What is wrong with that?

    Stores do buy produce and meat from other countries and not only does it create a negative impact on the environment, but the food is not as fresh.

    The tone of your post makes it so unpleasant to read.

  23. NE

    Rich –

    Can’t you write without being disrespectful?

    I agree with DPD and I’m sure many others do too that we would like to have neighborhood stores once again…that carry locally grown food. What is wrong with that?

    Stores do buy produce and meat from other countries and not only does it create a negative impact on the environment, but the food is not as fresh.

    The tone of your post makes it so unpleasant to read.

  24. NE

    Rich –

    Can’t you write without being disrespectful?

    I agree with DPD and I’m sure many others do too that we would like to have neighborhood stores once again…that carry locally grown food. What is wrong with that?

    Stores do buy produce and meat from other countries and not only does it create a negative impact on the environment, but the food is not as fresh.

    The tone of your post makes it so unpleasant to read.

  25. Another View

    Coming at this from a consumer point of view:
    1) I cannot carry three or four bags of groceries on my bike or in my hands when I grocery shop. So I think you will find most people DRIVE their cars to the grocery store.
    2) I shop at Wal-Mart because it has much cheaper items. I have an OTC item I must take for my health. At the local drugs stores it costs $23, whereas it only costs $13 at Wal-Mart. If I purchase three at a time, that is a whopping savings of $30 in one trip!!! I am living on a very small income, so I need to watch my pennies.
    3) The small grocery stores have failed because it is not what consumers want. The marketplace has spoken. Businesses survive or not depending on whether they serve consumer needs – as consumers see it. Consumers tend to look towards price, quality, selection. If smaller businesses want to compete, then they need to either improve their standards or find a niche market for specialty goods.

    I know this is probably sacrilege on this blog, but as a consumer, I don’t really care what the carbon footprint of a store is, or whether it somehow contributes its dollars to the community. What I am looking for is cheaper prices; more selection of different types of goods; convenience would be nice; and good customer service (some businesses in this town have closed because the customer service was terrible). I DO NOT feel like a traitor because I bargain shop at Wal-Mart – it is a necessity on my income.

    Competition breeds a better store. Insistance on toeing the political line of protecting neighborhood stores at all costs (pardon the pun) breeds mediocrity. I have seen new businesses try and come to this town, only to be faced with fierce opposition from local stores not nearly as good. Borders Books is a prime example. Borders is an absolutely wonderful store, yet met with terrible opposition when it first tried to come here.

    Furthermore, the dislike expressed by some of big grocery stores flies in the face of reality. Look at Ace Hardware. They are a big box store – divided into three buildings to get around the existing size ordinance that was in place at the time. I like Safeway much better now that it has increased in size, because it provides one stop shopping. I can usually get all my groceries at one time in one trip. That was not true when it was smaller and much less convenient.

    If some folks wish to worry about carbon footprints, keeping dollars within the community, etc., that is OK too. But others are free to be more concerned about price, selection, customer service and convenience. This is a democracy, so it looks as if the consumer has spoken. They do seem to side with considerations other than what is politically correct at the moment.

    So I would urge those who are worried about carbon footprints and the like to encourage businesses to incorporate those sorts of considerations into their business (as the Davis Target has done), as well as making sure they offer cheaper prices and the other things most consumers look for. That way everyone wins!!! But don’t ask me to pay more for an OTC item, just to reduce carbon emissions and protect existing Davis businesses. I’m asking Davis businesses to cater to consumer needs if they want to remain viable. The three small grocery stores that went in and out of West Davis were all very bad, poorly run. Why should I accept bad when I can go up the street and get much better?

  26. Another View

    Coming at this from a consumer point of view:
    1) I cannot carry three or four bags of groceries on my bike or in my hands when I grocery shop. So I think you will find most people DRIVE their cars to the grocery store.
    2) I shop at Wal-Mart because it has much cheaper items. I have an OTC item I must take for my health. At the local drugs stores it costs $23, whereas it only costs $13 at Wal-Mart. If I purchase three at a time, that is a whopping savings of $30 in one trip!!! I am living on a very small income, so I need to watch my pennies.
    3) The small grocery stores have failed because it is not what consumers want. The marketplace has spoken. Businesses survive or not depending on whether they serve consumer needs – as consumers see it. Consumers tend to look towards price, quality, selection. If smaller businesses want to compete, then they need to either improve their standards or find a niche market for specialty goods.

    I know this is probably sacrilege on this blog, but as a consumer, I don’t really care what the carbon footprint of a store is, or whether it somehow contributes its dollars to the community. What I am looking for is cheaper prices; more selection of different types of goods; convenience would be nice; and good customer service (some businesses in this town have closed because the customer service was terrible). I DO NOT feel like a traitor because I bargain shop at Wal-Mart – it is a necessity on my income.

    Competition breeds a better store. Insistance on toeing the political line of protecting neighborhood stores at all costs (pardon the pun) breeds mediocrity. I have seen new businesses try and come to this town, only to be faced with fierce opposition from local stores not nearly as good. Borders Books is a prime example. Borders is an absolutely wonderful store, yet met with terrible opposition when it first tried to come here.

    Furthermore, the dislike expressed by some of big grocery stores flies in the face of reality. Look at Ace Hardware. They are a big box store – divided into three buildings to get around the existing size ordinance that was in place at the time. I like Safeway much better now that it has increased in size, because it provides one stop shopping. I can usually get all my groceries at one time in one trip. That was not true when it was smaller and much less convenient.

    If some folks wish to worry about carbon footprints, keeping dollars within the community, etc., that is OK too. But others are free to be more concerned about price, selection, customer service and convenience. This is a democracy, so it looks as if the consumer has spoken. They do seem to side with considerations other than what is politically correct at the moment.

    So I would urge those who are worried about carbon footprints and the like to encourage businesses to incorporate those sorts of considerations into their business (as the Davis Target has done), as well as making sure they offer cheaper prices and the other things most consumers look for. That way everyone wins!!! But don’t ask me to pay more for an OTC item, just to reduce carbon emissions and protect existing Davis businesses. I’m asking Davis businesses to cater to consumer needs if they want to remain viable. The three small grocery stores that went in and out of West Davis were all very bad, poorly run. Why should I accept bad when I can go up the street and get much better?

  27. Another View

    Coming at this from a consumer point of view:
    1) I cannot carry three or four bags of groceries on my bike or in my hands when I grocery shop. So I think you will find most people DRIVE their cars to the grocery store.
    2) I shop at Wal-Mart because it has much cheaper items. I have an OTC item I must take for my health. At the local drugs stores it costs $23, whereas it only costs $13 at Wal-Mart. If I purchase three at a time, that is a whopping savings of $30 in one trip!!! I am living on a very small income, so I need to watch my pennies.
    3) The small grocery stores have failed because it is not what consumers want. The marketplace has spoken. Businesses survive or not depending on whether they serve consumer needs – as consumers see it. Consumers tend to look towards price, quality, selection. If smaller businesses want to compete, then they need to either improve their standards or find a niche market for specialty goods.

    I know this is probably sacrilege on this blog, but as a consumer, I don’t really care what the carbon footprint of a store is, or whether it somehow contributes its dollars to the community. What I am looking for is cheaper prices; more selection of different types of goods; convenience would be nice; and good customer service (some businesses in this town have closed because the customer service was terrible). I DO NOT feel like a traitor because I bargain shop at Wal-Mart – it is a necessity on my income.

    Competition breeds a better store. Insistance on toeing the political line of protecting neighborhood stores at all costs (pardon the pun) breeds mediocrity. I have seen new businesses try and come to this town, only to be faced with fierce opposition from local stores not nearly as good. Borders Books is a prime example. Borders is an absolutely wonderful store, yet met with terrible opposition when it first tried to come here.

    Furthermore, the dislike expressed by some of big grocery stores flies in the face of reality. Look at Ace Hardware. They are a big box store – divided into three buildings to get around the existing size ordinance that was in place at the time. I like Safeway much better now that it has increased in size, because it provides one stop shopping. I can usually get all my groceries at one time in one trip. That was not true when it was smaller and much less convenient.

    If some folks wish to worry about carbon footprints, keeping dollars within the community, etc., that is OK too. But others are free to be more concerned about price, selection, customer service and convenience. This is a democracy, so it looks as if the consumer has spoken. They do seem to side with considerations other than what is politically correct at the moment.

    So I would urge those who are worried about carbon footprints and the like to encourage businesses to incorporate those sorts of considerations into their business (as the Davis Target has done), as well as making sure they offer cheaper prices and the other things most consumers look for. That way everyone wins!!! But don’t ask me to pay more for an OTC item, just to reduce carbon emissions and protect existing Davis businesses. I’m asking Davis businesses to cater to consumer needs if they want to remain viable. The three small grocery stores that went in and out of West Davis were all very bad, poorly run. Why should I accept bad when I can go up the street and get much better?

  28. Another View

    Coming at this from a consumer point of view:
    1) I cannot carry three or four bags of groceries on my bike or in my hands when I grocery shop. So I think you will find most people DRIVE their cars to the grocery store.
    2) I shop at Wal-Mart because it has much cheaper items. I have an OTC item I must take for my health. At the local drugs stores it costs $23, whereas it only costs $13 at Wal-Mart. If I purchase three at a time, that is a whopping savings of $30 in one trip!!! I am living on a very small income, so I need to watch my pennies.
    3) The small grocery stores have failed because it is not what consumers want. The marketplace has spoken. Businesses survive or not depending on whether they serve consumer needs – as consumers see it. Consumers tend to look towards price, quality, selection. If smaller businesses want to compete, then they need to either improve their standards or find a niche market for specialty goods.

    I know this is probably sacrilege on this blog, but as a consumer, I don’t really care what the carbon footprint of a store is, or whether it somehow contributes its dollars to the community. What I am looking for is cheaper prices; more selection of different types of goods; convenience would be nice; and good customer service (some businesses in this town have closed because the customer service was terrible). I DO NOT feel like a traitor because I bargain shop at Wal-Mart – it is a necessity on my income.

    Competition breeds a better store. Insistance on toeing the political line of protecting neighborhood stores at all costs (pardon the pun) breeds mediocrity. I have seen new businesses try and come to this town, only to be faced with fierce opposition from local stores not nearly as good. Borders Books is a prime example. Borders is an absolutely wonderful store, yet met with terrible opposition when it first tried to come here.

    Furthermore, the dislike expressed by some of big grocery stores flies in the face of reality. Look at Ace Hardware. They are a big box store – divided into three buildings to get around the existing size ordinance that was in place at the time. I like Safeway much better now that it has increased in size, because it provides one stop shopping. I can usually get all my groceries at one time in one trip. That was not true when it was smaller and much less convenient.

    If some folks wish to worry about carbon footprints, keeping dollars within the community, etc., that is OK too. But others are free to be more concerned about price, selection, customer service and convenience. This is a democracy, so it looks as if the consumer has spoken. They do seem to side with considerations other than what is politically correct at the moment.

    So I would urge those who are worried about carbon footprints and the like to encourage businesses to incorporate those sorts of considerations into their business (as the Davis Target has done), as well as making sure they offer cheaper prices and the other things most consumers look for. That way everyone wins!!! But don’t ask me to pay more for an OTC item, just to reduce carbon emissions and protect existing Davis businesses. I’m asking Davis businesses to cater to consumer needs if they want to remain viable. The three small grocery stores that went in and out of West Davis were all very bad, poorly run. Why should I accept bad when I can go up the street and get much better?

  29. Anonymous

    I’m glad you like shopping at WalMart. However, we don’t need their practices here in our community or elsewhere for that matter. Their cheaply made, “made in China” products do more harm than good to our environment and our community. Their treatment of employees is horrible. There are other place (including the mail) where people can get cheaper prescriptions.

    The stores that failed did so because they were not good to begin with. That doesn’t mean that we cannot ask for a better neiborhood grocer store.

    You have a right to your opinion, I’m just glad it is not the majority opinion…or our environment would be much worse than it is.

  30. Anonymous

    I’m glad you like shopping at WalMart. However, we don’t need their practices here in our community or elsewhere for that matter. Their cheaply made, “made in China” products do more harm than good to our environment and our community. Their treatment of employees is horrible. There are other place (including the mail) where people can get cheaper prescriptions.

    The stores that failed did so because they were not good to begin with. That doesn’t mean that we cannot ask for a better neiborhood grocer store.

    You have a right to your opinion, I’m just glad it is not the majority opinion…or our environment would be much worse than it is.

  31. Anonymous

    I’m glad you like shopping at WalMart. However, we don’t need their practices here in our community or elsewhere for that matter. Their cheaply made, “made in China” products do more harm than good to our environment and our community. Their treatment of employees is horrible. There are other place (including the mail) where people can get cheaper prescriptions.

    The stores that failed did so because they were not good to begin with. That doesn’t mean that we cannot ask for a better neiborhood grocer store.

    You have a right to your opinion, I’m just glad it is not the majority opinion…or our environment would be much worse than it is.

  32. Anonymous

    I’m glad you like shopping at WalMart. However, we don’t need their practices here in our community or elsewhere for that matter. Their cheaply made, “made in China” products do more harm than good to our environment and our community. Their treatment of employees is horrible. There are other place (including the mail) where people can get cheaper prescriptions.

    The stores that failed did so because they were not good to begin with. That doesn’t mean that we cannot ask for a better neiborhood grocer store.

    You have a right to your opinion, I’m just glad it is not the majority opinion…or our environment would be much worse than it is.

  33. Anonymous

    Dear Anon: 2/16/08 11:00 AM
    Have you tried Food For Less, Grocery Outletboth in Woodland, The Yolo Farm Stand (out at the I-80 Chiles Rd. exit)…? Better deals than Wal-Mart to be found there most of the time. And if you are really observant you can find cheap, good produce at the Central Park Farmer’s Market and the one by County Fair Mall in Woodland. Also check out STEAC, if your budget really is that tight and you take bargain hunting seriously…

  34. Anonymous

    Dear Anon: 2/16/08 11:00 AM
    Have you tried Food For Less, Grocery Outletboth in Woodland, The Yolo Farm Stand (out at the I-80 Chiles Rd. exit)…? Better deals than Wal-Mart to be found there most of the time. And if you are really observant you can find cheap, good produce at the Central Park Farmer’s Market and the one by County Fair Mall in Woodland. Also check out STEAC, if your budget really is that tight and you take bargain hunting seriously…

  35. Anonymous

    Dear Anon: 2/16/08 11:00 AM
    Have you tried Food For Less, Grocery Outletboth in Woodland, The Yolo Farm Stand (out at the I-80 Chiles Rd. exit)…? Better deals than Wal-Mart to be found there most of the time. And if you are really observant you can find cheap, good produce at the Central Park Farmer’s Market and the one by County Fair Mall in Woodland. Also check out STEAC, if your budget really is that tight and you take bargain hunting seriously…

  36. Anonymous

    Dear Anon: 2/16/08 11:00 AM
    Have you tried Food For Less, Grocery Outletboth in Woodland, The Yolo Farm Stand (out at the I-80 Chiles Rd. exit)…? Better deals than Wal-Mart to be found there most of the time. And if you are really observant you can find cheap, good produce at the Central Park Farmer’s Market and the one by County Fair Mall in Woodland. Also check out STEAC, if your budget really is that tight and you take bargain hunting seriously…

  37. Natural~Specialty Foods Memo

    Although Trader Joe’s has its U.S. corporate headquarters in Southern California, and most often is noted in the press as a “California-based grocer,” It’s actually 100% owned by a subsidiary of a German retail company named ALDI.

    ALDI also has nearly 900 small-format discount grocery stores in the Midwest and Eastern USA named ADLI.

    As a result of its 100% German ownership, all Trader Joe’s profits are taken out of the USA.

    Unlike Safeway, Nugget, Raley’s and Save Mart, which are union and pay their respective employees who have one-year full-time experience about $21.00 hour–and offer one of the best health insurance plans in America–Trader Joe’s is non-union.

    Trader Joe’s pays about 50% per-hour less than Safeway, Nugget and the other union food retailers, and the value of its health plan is about 50% the value and quality of the Safeway, Nugget, union supermarket shop plans.

    Safeway also has a large distribution center just outside Sacramento. Its just a few miles from Davis.

    The workers at the distribution center are union represented. Pay ranges from about $15.00 per-hour for entry-level warehouse workers -to- about $25.00 for those with 2 years’ full time experience. Some with more experience make $30.00 hour. No post-high school education is required.

    Truck drivers average about $65-80-k year depending on the amount of overtime hours they work.They can choose to not work any overtime if they want.

    Safeway Sacramento-area distribution center employees and drivers also have the same health plan as the unionized retail clerks.

    These plans have minimal co-pays for office visits and prescrition drugs. They also offer vision, mental health and dental benefits for a nominal charge.

    Last time I checked (about 2 years ago) dental was $25.00 month for a single person.

    The health plan is better than most private-sector company plans and public-sector organization plans (including the health plan for UCD employees).

    I’m not anti-Trader Joe’s; I like certain aspects about the retailer as well.

    However, any discussion of food miles, carbon output, local shopping, ect. should factor in the above information I believe.

    Further, Safeway is local to Davis in the sense that its distribution center is nearby–and it does employ some Davis residents–and has a positive impact on the local, regional economy.

    Safeway is also a leader in green food retailing, especially compared to most.

    The chain is in the process of converting its entire truck fleet to 100% bio-diesel fuel. This is nationwide.

    Safeway also has installed solar panels on 10 stores thus far in the Bay Area, and has 25 more stores in the pipeline to get the panels. Currently, about 35% of the power for the stores outfitted thus far is being provided by the solar array.

    Safeway also has started a pilot program in which they are locating small wind turbines in their parking lots. They say they hope to be able to provide at least 50% of the power to all their western USA stores using solar and wind energy in the next 4-5 years.

    While I am a big ‘shop-local’ guy–I believe strongly in spending my money at Co-ops and local independent grocers even if it costs me slightly more–the high-salary range and health benefit packages chain’s like Safeway, Raley’s, Save Mart, Nugget and others provide to their workers via signing union agreements is a big consideration to me as well. As a result, I spend my money at those chains too, as I want to support those store workers.

    Without these chains, the workers would be lucky to make half of what they do now (at non-union stores). And, of course, we all know what kind of health benefits they would get working for non-union food retailers, dont we?

    It’s a multi-variable process, one that weighs green issues, with local issues, and also economic and quality of life ones as well in my analysis and opinion.

  38. Natural~Specialty Foods Memo

    Although Trader Joe’s has its U.S. corporate headquarters in Southern California, and most often is noted in the press as a “California-based grocer,” It’s actually 100% owned by a subsidiary of a German retail company named ALDI.

    ALDI also has nearly 900 small-format discount grocery stores in the Midwest and Eastern USA named ADLI.

    As a result of its 100% German ownership, all Trader Joe’s profits are taken out of the USA.

    Unlike Safeway, Nugget, Raley’s and Save Mart, which are union and pay their respective employees who have one-year full-time experience about $21.00 hour–and offer one of the best health insurance plans in America–Trader Joe’s is non-union.

    Trader Joe’s pays about 50% per-hour less than Safeway, Nugget and the other union food retailers, and the value of its health plan is about 50% the value and quality of the Safeway, Nugget, union supermarket shop plans.

    Safeway also has a large distribution center just outside Sacramento. Its just a few miles from Davis.

    The workers at the distribution center are union represented. Pay ranges from about $15.00 per-hour for entry-level warehouse workers -to- about $25.00 for those with 2 years’ full time experience. Some with more experience make $30.00 hour. No post-high school education is required.

    Truck drivers average about $65-80-k year depending on the amount of overtime hours they work.They can choose to not work any overtime if they want.

    Safeway Sacramento-area distribution center employees and drivers also have the same health plan as the unionized retail clerks.

    These plans have minimal co-pays for office visits and prescrition drugs. They also offer vision, mental health and dental benefits for a nominal charge.

    Last time I checked (about 2 years ago) dental was $25.00 month for a single person.

    The health plan is better than most private-sector company plans and public-sector organization plans (including the health plan for UCD employees).

    I’m not anti-Trader Joe’s; I like certain aspects about the retailer as well.

    However, any discussion of food miles, carbon output, local shopping, ect. should factor in the above information I believe.

    Further, Safeway is local to Davis in the sense that its distribution center is nearby–and it does employ some Davis residents–and has a positive impact on the local, regional economy.

    Safeway is also a leader in green food retailing, especially compared to most.

    The chain is in the process of converting its entire truck fleet to 100% bio-diesel fuel. This is nationwide.

    Safeway also has installed solar panels on 10 stores thus far in the Bay Area, and has 25 more stores in the pipeline to get the panels. Currently, about 35% of the power for the stores outfitted thus far is being provided by the solar array.

    Safeway also has started a pilot program in which they are locating small wind turbines in their parking lots. They say they hope to be able to provide at least 50% of the power to all their western USA stores using solar and wind energy in the next 4-5 years.

    While I am a big ‘shop-local’ guy–I believe strongly in spending my money at Co-ops and local independent grocers even if it costs me slightly more–the high-salary range and health benefit packages chain’s like Safeway, Raley’s, Save Mart, Nugget and others provide to their workers via signing union agreements is a big consideration to me as well. As a result, I spend my money at those chains too, as I want to support those store workers.

    Without these chains, the workers would be lucky to make half of what they do now (at non-union stores). And, of course, we all know what kind of health benefits they would get working for non-union food retailers, dont we?

    It’s a multi-variable process, one that weighs green issues, with local issues, and also economic and quality of life ones as well in my analysis and opinion.

  39. Natural~Specialty Foods Memo

    Although Trader Joe’s has its U.S. corporate headquarters in Southern California, and most often is noted in the press as a “California-based grocer,” It’s actually 100% owned by a subsidiary of a German retail company named ALDI.

    ALDI also has nearly 900 small-format discount grocery stores in the Midwest and Eastern USA named ADLI.

    As a result of its 100% German ownership, all Trader Joe’s profits are taken out of the USA.

    Unlike Safeway, Nugget, Raley’s and Save Mart, which are union and pay their respective employees who have one-year full-time experience about $21.00 hour–and offer one of the best health insurance plans in America–Trader Joe’s is non-union.

    Trader Joe’s pays about 50% per-hour less than Safeway, Nugget and the other union food retailers, and the value of its health plan is about 50% the value and quality of the Safeway, Nugget, union supermarket shop plans.

    Safeway also has a large distribution center just outside Sacramento. Its just a few miles from Davis.

    The workers at the distribution center are union represented. Pay ranges from about $15.00 per-hour for entry-level warehouse workers -to- about $25.00 for those with 2 years’ full time experience. Some with more experience make $30.00 hour. No post-high school education is required.

    Truck drivers average about $65-80-k year depending on the amount of overtime hours they work.They can choose to not work any overtime if they want.

    Safeway Sacramento-area distribution center employees and drivers also have the same health plan as the unionized retail clerks.

    These plans have minimal co-pays for office visits and prescrition drugs. They also offer vision, mental health and dental benefits for a nominal charge.

    Last time I checked (about 2 years ago) dental was $25.00 month for a single person.

    The health plan is better than most private-sector company plans and public-sector organization plans (including the health plan for UCD employees).

    I’m not anti-Trader Joe’s; I like certain aspects about the retailer as well.

    However, any discussion of food miles, carbon output, local shopping, ect. should factor in the above information I believe.

    Further, Safeway is local to Davis in the sense that its distribution center is nearby–and it does employ some Davis residents–and has a positive impact on the local, regional economy.

    Safeway is also a leader in green food retailing, especially compared to most.

    The chain is in the process of converting its entire truck fleet to 100% bio-diesel fuel. This is nationwide.

    Safeway also has installed solar panels on 10 stores thus far in the Bay Area, and has 25 more stores in the pipeline to get the panels. Currently, about 35% of the power for the stores outfitted thus far is being provided by the solar array.

    Safeway also has started a pilot program in which they are locating small wind turbines in their parking lots. They say they hope to be able to provide at least 50% of the power to all their western USA stores using solar and wind energy in the next 4-5 years.

    While I am a big ‘shop-local’ guy–I believe strongly in spending my money at Co-ops and local independent grocers even if it costs me slightly more–the high-salary range and health benefit packages chain’s like Safeway, Raley’s, Save Mart, Nugget and others provide to their workers via signing union agreements is a big consideration to me as well. As a result, I spend my money at those chains too, as I want to support those store workers.

    Without these chains, the workers would be lucky to make half of what they do now (at non-union stores). And, of course, we all know what kind of health benefits they would get working for non-union food retailers, dont we?

    It’s a multi-variable process, one that weighs green issues, with local issues, and also economic and quality of life ones as well in my analysis and opinion.

  40. Natural~Specialty Foods Memo

    Although Trader Joe’s has its U.S. corporate headquarters in Southern California, and most often is noted in the press as a “California-based grocer,” It’s actually 100% owned by a subsidiary of a German retail company named ALDI.

    ALDI also has nearly 900 small-format discount grocery stores in the Midwest and Eastern USA named ADLI.

    As a result of its 100% German ownership, all Trader Joe’s profits are taken out of the USA.

    Unlike Safeway, Nugget, Raley’s and Save Mart, which are union and pay their respective employees who have one-year full-time experience about $21.00 hour–and offer one of the best health insurance plans in America–Trader Joe’s is non-union.

    Trader Joe’s pays about 50% per-hour less than Safeway, Nugget and the other union food retailers, and the value of its health plan is about 50% the value and quality of the Safeway, Nugget, union supermarket shop plans.

    Safeway also has a large distribution center just outside Sacramento. Its just a few miles from Davis.

    The workers at the distribution center are union represented. Pay ranges from about $15.00 per-hour for entry-level warehouse workers -to- about $25.00 for those with 2 years’ full time experience. Some with more experience make $30.00 hour. No post-high school education is required.

    Truck drivers average about $65-80-k year depending on the amount of overtime hours they work.They can choose to not work any overtime if they want.

    Safeway Sacramento-area distribution center employees and drivers also have the same health plan as the unionized retail clerks.

    These plans have minimal co-pays for office visits and prescrition drugs. They also offer vision, mental health and dental benefits for a nominal charge.

    Last time I checked (about 2 years ago) dental was $25.00 month for a single person.

    The health plan is better than most private-sector company plans and public-sector organization plans (including the health plan for UCD employees).

    I’m not anti-Trader Joe’s; I like certain aspects about the retailer as well.

    However, any discussion of food miles, carbon output, local shopping, ect. should factor in the above information I believe.

    Further, Safeway is local to Davis in the sense that its distribution center is nearby–and it does employ some Davis residents–and has a positive impact on the local, regional economy.

    Safeway is also a leader in green food retailing, especially compared to most.

    The chain is in the process of converting its entire truck fleet to 100% bio-diesel fuel. This is nationwide.

    Safeway also has installed solar panels on 10 stores thus far in the Bay Area, and has 25 more stores in the pipeline to get the panels. Currently, about 35% of the power for the stores outfitted thus far is being provided by the solar array.

    Safeway also has started a pilot program in which they are locating small wind turbines in their parking lots. They say they hope to be able to provide at least 50% of the power to all their western USA stores using solar and wind energy in the next 4-5 years.

    While I am a big ‘shop-local’ guy–I believe strongly in spending my money at Co-ops and local independent grocers even if it costs me slightly more–the high-salary range and health benefit packages chain’s like Safeway, Raley’s, Save Mart, Nugget and others provide to their workers via signing union agreements is a big consideration to me as well. As a result, I spend my money at those chains too, as I want to support those store workers.

    Without these chains, the workers would be lucky to make half of what they do now (at non-union stores). And, of course, we all know what kind of health benefits they would get working for non-union food retailers, dont we?

    It’s a multi-variable process, one that weighs green issues, with local issues, and also economic and quality of life ones as well in my analysis and opinion.

  41. Rich Rifkin

    Can’t you write without being disrespectful?

    No.

    When someone who doesn’t have an understanding of the basic science of economics writes a misguided, illogical treatise on economics, it’s important to attack that treatise.

    I would do the same if he or someone else, with an anti-scientific political agenda, were to argue unscientifically that global warming is a hoax.

    When someone attacks the fundamental understanding of science — as this piece did — it’s fully worthy of rebuke.

    “I agree with DPD and I’m sure many others do too that we would like to have neighborhood stores once again…that carry locally grown food. What is wrong with that?

    Nothing. Go start a neighborhood store which carries locally grown food, if you believe people really want that. And if you are unable to start such a store, then encourage someone who can to serve your neighborhood in such a way as you would like.

    I have never argued that people shouldn’t have a choice. I’m all for choice. But don’t impose your choice on everyone else by force of violence.

  42. Rich Rifkin

    Can’t you write without being disrespectful?

    No.

    When someone who doesn’t have an understanding of the basic science of economics writes a misguided, illogical treatise on economics, it’s important to attack that treatise.

    I would do the same if he or someone else, with an anti-scientific political agenda, were to argue unscientifically that global warming is a hoax.

    When someone attacks the fundamental understanding of science — as this piece did — it’s fully worthy of rebuke.

    “I agree with DPD and I’m sure many others do too that we would like to have neighborhood stores once again…that carry locally grown food. What is wrong with that?

    Nothing. Go start a neighborhood store which carries locally grown food, if you believe people really want that. And if you are unable to start such a store, then encourage someone who can to serve your neighborhood in such a way as you would like.

    I have never argued that people shouldn’t have a choice. I’m all for choice. But don’t impose your choice on everyone else by force of violence.

  43. Rich Rifkin

    Can’t you write without being disrespectful?

    No.

    When someone who doesn’t have an understanding of the basic science of economics writes a misguided, illogical treatise on economics, it’s important to attack that treatise.

    I would do the same if he or someone else, with an anti-scientific political agenda, were to argue unscientifically that global warming is a hoax.

    When someone attacks the fundamental understanding of science — as this piece did — it’s fully worthy of rebuke.

    “I agree with DPD and I’m sure many others do too that we would like to have neighborhood stores once again…that carry locally grown food. What is wrong with that?

    Nothing. Go start a neighborhood store which carries locally grown food, if you believe people really want that. And if you are unable to start such a store, then encourage someone who can to serve your neighborhood in such a way as you would like.

    I have never argued that people shouldn’t have a choice. I’m all for choice. But don’t impose your choice on everyone else by force of violence.

  44. Rich Rifkin

    Can’t you write without being disrespectful?

    No.

    When someone who doesn’t have an understanding of the basic science of economics writes a misguided, illogical treatise on economics, it’s important to attack that treatise.

    I would do the same if he or someone else, with an anti-scientific political agenda, were to argue unscientifically that global warming is a hoax.

    When someone attacks the fundamental understanding of science — as this piece did — it’s fully worthy of rebuke.

    “I agree with DPD and I’m sure many others do too that we would like to have neighborhood stores once again…that carry locally grown food. What is wrong with that?

    Nothing. Go start a neighborhood store which carries locally grown food, if you believe people really want that. And if you are unable to start such a store, then encourage someone who can to serve your neighborhood in such a way as you would like.

    I have never argued that people shouldn’t have a choice. I’m all for choice. But don’t impose your choice on everyone else by force of violence.

  45. Rich Rifkin

    “Look at Ace Hardware. They are a big box store – divided into three buildings to get around the existing size ordinance that was in place at the time.”

    This is untrue. There never has been an “existing size ordinance” or any other size ordinance which affected the size of Davis Lumber & Hardware, later called Davis Ace. DL&H expanded in the 1960s across 3rd Street because they had run out of room at their main store.

    Also, it’s incorrect that Davis Ace is part of a chain. Davis Ace is 100% owned locally. It is not a “franchise” or a subsideary of the Ace corporation. Rather, it is a member of the Ace cooperative, from which it buys a line of merchandise and shares in marketing.

    As I noted above, however, I don’t care where a store is owned. It is economic nonsense that our community or any other community is inherently better off by shopping at locally owned or American-owned retailers. Consumers will mostly shop at stores which, for the same quality of merchandise, give them the best price. And if that means shopping for hardware at a national chain over an independent, because, for example, a $120 item at Home Depot costs $150 at Davis Ace, the $30 in savings is (most likely) much more than the profit Home Depot made on that sale.

  46. Rich Rifkin

    “Look at Ace Hardware. They are a big box store – divided into three buildings to get around the existing size ordinance that was in place at the time.”

    This is untrue. There never has been an “existing size ordinance” or any other size ordinance which affected the size of Davis Lumber & Hardware, later called Davis Ace. DL&H expanded in the 1960s across 3rd Street because they had run out of room at their main store.

    Also, it’s incorrect that Davis Ace is part of a chain. Davis Ace is 100% owned locally. It is not a “franchise” or a subsideary of the Ace corporation. Rather, it is a member of the Ace cooperative, from which it buys a line of merchandise and shares in marketing.

    As I noted above, however, I don’t care where a store is owned. It is economic nonsense that our community or any other community is inherently better off by shopping at locally owned or American-owned retailers. Consumers will mostly shop at stores which, for the same quality of merchandise, give them the best price. And if that means shopping for hardware at a national chain over an independent, because, for example, a $120 item at Home Depot costs $150 at Davis Ace, the $30 in savings is (most likely) much more than the profit Home Depot made on that sale.

  47. Rich Rifkin

    “Look at Ace Hardware. They are a big box store – divided into three buildings to get around the existing size ordinance that was in place at the time.”

    This is untrue. There never has been an “existing size ordinance” or any other size ordinance which affected the size of Davis Lumber & Hardware, later called Davis Ace. DL&H expanded in the 1960s across 3rd Street because they had run out of room at their main store.

    Also, it’s incorrect that Davis Ace is part of a chain. Davis Ace is 100% owned locally. It is not a “franchise” or a subsideary of the Ace corporation. Rather, it is a member of the Ace cooperative, from which it buys a line of merchandise and shares in marketing.

    As I noted above, however, I don’t care where a store is owned. It is economic nonsense that our community or any other community is inherently better off by shopping at locally owned or American-owned retailers. Consumers will mostly shop at stores which, for the same quality of merchandise, give them the best price. And if that means shopping for hardware at a national chain over an independent, because, for example, a $120 item at Home Depot costs $150 at Davis Ace, the $30 in savings is (most likely) much more than the profit Home Depot made on that sale.

  48. Rich Rifkin

    “Look at Ace Hardware. They are a big box store – divided into three buildings to get around the existing size ordinance that was in place at the time.”

    This is untrue. There never has been an “existing size ordinance” or any other size ordinance which affected the size of Davis Lumber & Hardware, later called Davis Ace. DL&H expanded in the 1960s across 3rd Street because they had run out of room at their main store.

    Also, it’s incorrect that Davis Ace is part of a chain. Davis Ace is 100% owned locally. It is not a “franchise” or a subsideary of the Ace corporation. Rather, it is a member of the Ace cooperative, from which it buys a line of merchandise and shares in marketing.

    As I noted above, however, I don’t care where a store is owned. It is economic nonsense that our community or any other community is inherently better off by shopping at locally owned or American-owned retailers. Consumers will mostly shop at stores which, for the same quality of merchandise, give them the best price. And if that means shopping for hardware at a national chain over an independent, because, for example, a $120 item at Home Depot costs $150 at Davis Ace, the $30 in savings is (most likely) much more than the profit Home Depot made on that sale.

  49. don shor

    The total square footage of all the stores of Davis Ace Hardware is 37,000 square feet.
    Standard definition of a “big box” is 80,000 sq. ft.
    Quick test: how big is the new Target going to be?

  50. don shor

    The total square footage of all the stores of Davis Ace Hardware is 37,000 square feet.
    Standard definition of a “big box” is 80,000 sq. ft.
    Quick test: how big is the new Target going to be?

  51. don shor

    The total square footage of all the stores of Davis Ace Hardware is 37,000 square feet.
    Standard definition of a “big box” is 80,000 sq. ft.
    Quick test: how big is the new Target going to be?

  52. don shor

    The total square footage of all the stores of Davis Ace Hardware is 37,000 square feet.
    Standard definition of a “big box” is 80,000 sq. ft.
    Quick test: how big is the new Target going to be?

  53. don shor

    “Go start a neighborhood store which carries locally grown food, if you believe people really want that.”

    Yeah, right. Startup costs for any kind of large retail store are beyond the reach of most individuals or even of a group of reasonably wealthy individuals. The co-op took a LONG time to get to a successful size, and involved considerable sweat equity.

    Store size limits are a standard planning device small communities use to regulate the type and location of growth. If Target or Wal-Mart want to build 35 – 40,000 square foot stores in Davis, they could do so without even needing special zoning or planning approval. In fact, they are building smaller stores in some locations. They simply chose to make the store here a take-it-or-leave-it mega-store.

  54. don shor

    “Go start a neighborhood store which carries locally grown food, if you believe people really want that.”

    Yeah, right. Startup costs for any kind of large retail store are beyond the reach of most individuals or even of a group of reasonably wealthy individuals. The co-op took a LONG time to get to a successful size, and involved considerable sweat equity.

    Store size limits are a standard planning device small communities use to regulate the type and location of growth. If Target or Wal-Mart want to build 35 – 40,000 square foot stores in Davis, they could do so without even needing special zoning or planning approval. In fact, they are building smaller stores in some locations. They simply chose to make the store here a take-it-or-leave-it mega-store.

  55. don shor

    “Go start a neighborhood store which carries locally grown food, if you believe people really want that.”

    Yeah, right. Startup costs for any kind of large retail store are beyond the reach of most individuals or even of a group of reasonably wealthy individuals. The co-op took a LONG time to get to a successful size, and involved considerable sweat equity.

    Store size limits are a standard planning device small communities use to regulate the type and location of growth. If Target or Wal-Mart want to build 35 – 40,000 square foot stores in Davis, they could do so without even needing special zoning or planning approval. In fact, they are building smaller stores in some locations. They simply chose to make the store here a take-it-or-leave-it mega-store.

  56. don shor

    “Go start a neighborhood store which carries locally grown food, if you believe people really want that.”

    Yeah, right. Startup costs for any kind of large retail store are beyond the reach of most individuals or even of a group of reasonably wealthy individuals. The co-op took a LONG time to get to a successful size, and involved considerable sweat equity.

    Store size limits are a standard planning device small communities use to regulate the type and location of growth. If Target or Wal-Mart want to build 35 – 40,000 square foot stores in Davis, they could do so without even needing special zoning or planning approval. In fact, they are building smaller stores in some locations. They simply chose to make the store here a take-it-or-leave-it mega-store.

  57. Anonymous

    From my standpoint, I’m not convinced Rich is properly appropriating one strain of economic theory that looks at trade compared to an economic theory that looks at the impact of big box retail. There is certainly enough theory here that he should not post with the bravado that he has and rather condescendingly towards DPD.

    If you actually read the literature that discussed big box retail it looks closer to a colonial model than a gain from trade scenario.

    In order to apply this to a trade situation, you would have to assign certain conditions on the trade.

    First the products are sold to a specific company from overseas.

    Second the products are sold to a foreignly owned company.

    Third the employees of that company live overseas and do not spend the vast majority of their income within the country.

    Under those very specific conditions are you really arguing that we ought to trade with another country? Is this really an applicable analogy as you assert so forcefully as to claim:

    “It makes it clear you don’t understand the basics of the advantages of trade.”

    Finally, there is another component to this model and its actually one that capitalist economics does the worst to account for: the environment. DPD made it a point to stress the disadvantages to the environment while your argument clearly focused on the capitalist/ consumer aspect to it.

    The problem with capitalist theory is that you simply do not properly account for the opportunity costs and externalities in the form of ecological and environmental degradation.

    So while you indeed offered one form of economic theory, your overall analysis was actually quite poor given the argument presented by DPD and the specifics of big box retail.

  58. Anonymous

    From my standpoint, I’m not convinced Rich is properly appropriating one strain of economic theory that looks at trade compared to an economic theory that looks at the impact of big box retail. There is certainly enough theory here that he should not post with the bravado that he has and rather condescendingly towards DPD.

    If you actually read the literature that discussed big box retail it looks closer to a colonial model than a gain from trade scenario.

    In order to apply this to a trade situation, you would have to assign certain conditions on the trade.

    First the products are sold to a specific company from overseas.

    Second the products are sold to a foreignly owned company.

    Third the employees of that company live overseas and do not spend the vast majority of their income within the country.

    Under those very specific conditions are you really arguing that we ought to trade with another country? Is this really an applicable analogy as you assert so forcefully as to claim:

    “It makes it clear you don’t understand the basics of the advantages of trade.”

    Finally, there is another component to this model and its actually one that capitalist economics does the worst to account for: the environment. DPD made it a point to stress the disadvantages to the environment while your argument clearly focused on the capitalist/ consumer aspect to it.

    The problem with capitalist theory is that you simply do not properly account for the opportunity costs and externalities in the form of ecological and environmental degradation.

    So while you indeed offered one form of economic theory, your overall analysis was actually quite poor given the argument presented by DPD and the specifics of big box retail.

  59. Anonymous

    From my standpoint, I’m not convinced Rich is properly appropriating one strain of economic theory that looks at trade compared to an economic theory that looks at the impact of big box retail. There is certainly enough theory here that he should not post with the bravado that he has and rather condescendingly towards DPD.

    If you actually read the literature that discussed big box retail it looks closer to a colonial model than a gain from trade scenario.

    In order to apply this to a trade situation, you would have to assign certain conditions on the trade.

    First the products are sold to a specific company from overseas.

    Second the products are sold to a foreignly owned company.

    Third the employees of that company live overseas and do not spend the vast majority of their income within the country.

    Under those very specific conditions are you really arguing that we ought to trade with another country? Is this really an applicable analogy as you assert so forcefully as to claim:

    “It makes it clear you don’t understand the basics of the advantages of trade.”

    Finally, there is another component to this model and its actually one that capitalist economics does the worst to account for: the environment. DPD made it a point to stress the disadvantages to the environment while your argument clearly focused on the capitalist/ consumer aspect to it.

    The problem with capitalist theory is that you simply do not properly account for the opportunity costs and externalities in the form of ecological and environmental degradation.

    So while you indeed offered one form of economic theory, your overall analysis was actually quite poor given the argument presented by DPD and the specifics of big box retail.

  60. Anonymous

    From my standpoint, I’m not convinced Rich is properly appropriating one strain of economic theory that looks at trade compared to an economic theory that looks at the impact of big box retail. There is certainly enough theory here that he should not post with the bravado that he has and rather condescendingly towards DPD.

    If you actually read the literature that discussed big box retail it looks closer to a colonial model than a gain from trade scenario.

    In order to apply this to a trade situation, you would have to assign certain conditions on the trade.

    First the products are sold to a specific company from overseas.

    Second the products are sold to a foreignly owned company.

    Third the employees of that company live overseas and do not spend the vast majority of their income within the country.

    Under those very specific conditions are you really arguing that we ought to trade with another country? Is this really an applicable analogy as you assert so forcefully as to claim:

    “It makes it clear you don’t understand the basics of the advantages of trade.”

    Finally, there is another component to this model and its actually one that capitalist economics does the worst to account for: the environment. DPD made it a point to stress the disadvantages to the environment while your argument clearly focused on the capitalist/ consumer aspect to it.

    The problem with capitalist theory is that you simply do not properly account for the opportunity costs and externalities in the form of ecological and environmental degradation.

    So while you indeed offered one form of economic theory, your overall analysis was actually quite poor given the argument presented by DPD and the specifics of big box retail.

  61. Anonymous

    Mr. Rifkin said:

    “It is economic nonsense that our community or any other community is inherently better off by shopping at locally owned or American-owned retailers.”

    For someone who fancies himself an economist that is quite a statement. Shopping locally does benefit the community. Sales support employment which in turn plows more dollars into the local economy. Sales also support businesses that provide employment, sales tax, and property tax revenue. When a business closes the property owner can then file an appeal for a lower property tax valuation based on the fact that his/her property is no longer rented. So in any number of direct economic ways and in even more cultural and social ways there are advantages to individuals and to the community.

  62. Anonymous

    Mr. Rifkin said:

    “It is economic nonsense that our community or any other community is inherently better off by shopping at locally owned or American-owned retailers.”

    For someone who fancies himself an economist that is quite a statement. Shopping locally does benefit the community. Sales support employment which in turn plows more dollars into the local economy. Sales also support businesses that provide employment, sales tax, and property tax revenue. When a business closes the property owner can then file an appeal for a lower property tax valuation based on the fact that his/her property is no longer rented. So in any number of direct economic ways and in even more cultural and social ways there are advantages to individuals and to the community.

  63. Anonymous

    Mr. Rifkin said:

    “It is economic nonsense that our community or any other community is inherently better off by shopping at locally owned or American-owned retailers.”

    For someone who fancies himself an economist that is quite a statement. Shopping locally does benefit the community. Sales support employment which in turn plows more dollars into the local economy. Sales also support businesses that provide employment, sales tax, and property tax revenue. When a business closes the property owner can then file an appeal for a lower property tax valuation based on the fact that his/her property is no longer rented. So in any number of direct economic ways and in even more cultural and social ways there are advantages to individuals and to the community.

  64. Anonymous

    Mr. Rifkin said:

    “It is economic nonsense that our community or any other community is inherently better off by shopping at locally owned or American-owned retailers.”

    For someone who fancies himself an economist that is quite a statement. Shopping locally does benefit the community. Sales support employment which in turn plows more dollars into the local economy. Sales also support businesses that provide employment, sales tax, and property tax revenue. When a business closes the property owner can then file an appeal for a lower property tax valuation based on the fact that his/her property is no longer rented. So in any number of direct economic ways and in even more cultural and social ways there are advantages to individuals and to the community.

  65. support neighborhood grocery stores

    Sorry Rich, but you are no economist.

    “I have never argued that people shouldn’t have a choice. I’m all for choice. But don’t impose your choice on everyone else by force of violence.” (Rich Rifkin 2/16/08 7:53 PM) –

    I don’t know what color the sky is to you, but your statement above clearly shows you are way off and rude. You sir, are the one who exhibits violence. Please be honest with yourself and address it.

    Now back to the real issue at hand. Thanks for this story DPD. I hope Davis brings neighborhood stores back to our community. We have some council members stating how wonderful it would be to not have a negative imprint on our community and yet they have done nothing.

    I hope people are paying attention.

  66. support neighborhood grocery s

    Sorry Rich, but you are no economist.

    “I have never argued that people shouldn’t have a choice. I’m all for choice. But don’t impose your choice on everyone else by force of violence.” (Rich Rifkin 2/16/08 7:53 PM) –

    I don’t know what color the sky is to you, but your statement above clearly shows you are way off and rude. You sir, are the one who exhibits violence. Please be honest with yourself and address it.

    Now back to the real issue at hand. Thanks for this story DPD. I hope Davis brings neighborhood stores back to our community. We have some council members stating how wonderful it would be to not have a negative imprint on our community and yet they have done nothing.

    I hope people are paying attention.

  67. support neighborhood grocery s

    Sorry Rich, but you are no economist.

    “I have never argued that people shouldn’t have a choice. I’m all for choice. But don’t impose your choice on everyone else by force of violence.” (Rich Rifkin 2/16/08 7:53 PM) –

    I don’t know what color the sky is to you, but your statement above clearly shows you are way off and rude. You sir, are the one who exhibits violence. Please be honest with yourself and address it.

    Now back to the real issue at hand. Thanks for this story DPD. I hope Davis brings neighborhood stores back to our community. We have some council members stating how wonderful it would be to not have a negative imprint on our community and yet they have done nothing.

    I hope people are paying attention.

  68. support neighborhood grocery s

    Sorry Rich, but you are no economist.

    “I have never argued that people shouldn’t have a choice. I’m all for choice. But don’t impose your choice on everyone else by force of violence.” (Rich Rifkin 2/16/08 7:53 PM) –

    I don’t know what color the sky is to you, but your statement above clearly shows you are way off and rude. You sir, are the one who exhibits violence. Please be honest with yourself and address it.

    Now back to the real issue at hand. Thanks for this story DPD. I hope Davis brings neighborhood stores back to our community. We have some council members stating how wonderful it would be to not have a negative imprint on our community and yet they have done nothing.

    I hope people are paying attention.

  69. Diogenes

    Rich Rifkin generally is spot on with the factual basis of his argument, regardless of how some of you may interpret the tone of his writing. If neighborhood markets are viable in Davis, they will surely be built and enough consumers will shop there and pay a price for products and services that allows that business to survive. Generally, the neighborhood markets charge a higher price and have less choice, are open fewer hours, and not as well run as larger stores that are owned by well capitalized and operated companies.

    As much as some of the citizens of Davis would like to isolate themselves from the happenings in the rest of Yolo County, much less the state, nation and world, all of us benefit from “trading” with the rest of Yolo County, CA, the US and the world. Everyone produces what they produce most efficiently, they consume locally what they need, and then sell the balance to others in exchange for money so that they can buy the other products and services that they need. Markets have developed on a much wider basis than “locally” because it provides better value and more choice for local consumers. That allows consumers in Davis to be more satisfied with their purchases, and theoretically, to either save more money or buy more products than they would if they paid more for locally produced products.

    I understand the call for carbon footprint. I haven’t seen a balance, well researched paper on the subject of the net impact of big box stores vs neighborhood stores regarding carbon footprint. If anyone here is familiar with one, please post a link.

  70. Diogenes

    Rich Rifkin generally is spot on with the factual basis of his argument, regardless of how some of you may interpret the tone of his writing. If neighborhood markets are viable in Davis, they will surely be built and enough consumers will shop there and pay a price for products and services that allows that business to survive. Generally, the neighborhood markets charge a higher price and have less choice, are open fewer hours, and not as well run as larger stores that are owned by well capitalized and operated companies.

    As much as some of the citizens of Davis would like to isolate themselves from the happenings in the rest of Yolo County, much less the state, nation and world, all of us benefit from “trading” with the rest of Yolo County, CA, the US and the world. Everyone produces what they produce most efficiently, they consume locally what they need, and then sell the balance to others in exchange for money so that they can buy the other products and services that they need. Markets have developed on a much wider basis than “locally” because it provides better value and more choice for local consumers. That allows consumers in Davis to be more satisfied with their purchases, and theoretically, to either save more money or buy more products than they would if they paid more for locally produced products.

    I understand the call for carbon footprint. I haven’t seen a balance, well researched paper on the subject of the net impact of big box stores vs neighborhood stores regarding carbon footprint. If anyone here is familiar with one, please post a link.

  71. Diogenes

    Rich Rifkin generally is spot on with the factual basis of his argument, regardless of how some of you may interpret the tone of his writing. If neighborhood markets are viable in Davis, they will surely be built and enough consumers will shop there and pay a price for products and services that allows that business to survive. Generally, the neighborhood markets charge a higher price and have less choice, are open fewer hours, and not as well run as larger stores that are owned by well capitalized and operated companies.

    As much as some of the citizens of Davis would like to isolate themselves from the happenings in the rest of Yolo County, much less the state, nation and world, all of us benefit from “trading” with the rest of Yolo County, CA, the US and the world. Everyone produces what they produce most efficiently, they consume locally what they need, and then sell the balance to others in exchange for money so that they can buy the other products and services that they need. Markets have developed on a much wider basis than “locally” because it provides better value and more choice for local consumers. That allows consumers in Davis to be more satisfied with their purchases, and theoretically, to either save more money or buy more products than they would if they paid more for locally produced products.

    I understand the call for carbon footprint. I haven’t seen a balance, well researched paper on the subject of the net impact of big box stores vs neighborhood stores regarding carbon footprint. If anyone here is familiar with one, please post a link.

  72. Diogenes

    Rich Rifkin generally is spot on with the factual basis of his argument, regardless of how some of you may interpret the tone of his writing. If neighborhood markets are viable in Davis, they will surely be built and enough consumers will shop there and pay a price for products and services that allows that business to survive. Generally, the neighborhood markets charge a higher price and have less choice, are open fewer hours, and not as well run as larger stores that are owned by well capitalized and operated companies.

    As much as some of the citizens of Davis would like to isolate themselves from the happenings in the rest of Yolo County, much less the state, nation and world, all of us benefit from “trading” with the rest of Yolo County, CA, the US and the world. Everyone produces what they produce most efficiently, they consume locally what they need, and then sell the balance to others in exchange for money so that they can buy the other products and services that they need. Markets have developed on a much wider basis than “locally” because it provides better value and more choice for local consumers. That allows consumers in Davis to be more satisfied with their purchases, and theoretically, to either save more money or buy more products than they would if they paid more for locally produced products.

    I understand the call for carbon footprint. I haven’t seen a balance, well researched paper on the subject of the net impact of big box stores vs neighborhood stores regarding carbon footprint. If anyone here is familiar with one, please post a link.

  73. Rich Rifkin

    “If you actually read the literature that discussed big box retail it looks closer to a colonial model than a gain from trade scenario.”

    Perhaps you could explain what your understanding of “the colonial model” is.

    Marxists ideologues used to preach that colonies inherently suffered by trading with their “mother” countries. They argued, for example that India was poor because it was in an inferior trading position with England. As such, India would have been better off by removing itself from international trade altogether. This cockamamie “autarky” theory, like all Marxist economics, made no sense and proved, in practice, false. Sadly, Mr. Nehru and his daughter bought it hook, line and sinker.

    India, by the 1990s, realized how stupid this was: they threw out the Congress Party, reversed course, opened their economy and have improved greatly ever since.

    “The problem with capitalist theory is that you simply do not properly account for the opportunity costs and externalities in the form of ecological and environmental degradation.”

    I addressed this specifically in my post. Read it again.

    “Shopping locally does benefit the community.”

    It may or may not. If shopping at locally owned stores equates with paying higher prices for equal quality merchandise, then it is untrue.

    “Sales support employment which in turn plows more dollars into the local economy.”

    Compared with no jobs, of course this is true. But when compared with employment at national chains, it’s a wash.

    “Sales also support businesses that provide employment, sales tax, and property tax revenue.”

    This is no different when compared with chain stores: they provide employment, sales tax and property tax.

    “So in any number of direct economic ways and in even more cultural and social ways there are advantages to individuals and to the community.”

    This is only true if the locally owned stores provide goods and services for a price as good as their non-local competitors. Otherwise, keeping out the nationals is a way of reducing the wealth of local consumers (because they have to spend more to buy products), and by reducing their wealth, you are taking away money that local consumers might have used to support local charities and other local concerns.

    “I don’t know what color the sky is to you, but your statement above clearly shows you are way off and rude.”

    That’s a rather rude ad hominem attack.

    “You sir, are the one who exhibits violence. Please be honest with yourself and address it.”

    When the government prohibits a certain business from opening, it does so by threat of violence. I am opposing that violence.

  74. Rich Rifkin

    “If you actually read the literature that discussed big box retail it looks closer to a colonial model than a gain from trade scenario.”

    Perhaps you could explain what your understanding of “the colonial model” is.

    Marxists ideologues used to preach that colonies inherently suffered by trading with their “mother” countries. They argued, for example that India was poor because it was in an inferior trading position with England. As such, India would have been better off by removing itself from international trade altogether. This cockamamie “autarky” theory, like all Marxist economics, made no sense and proved, in practice, false. Sadly, Mr. Nehru and his daughter bought it hook, line and sinker.

    India, by the 1990s, realized how stupid this was: they threw out the Congress Party, reversed course, opened their economy and have improved greatly ever since.

    “The problem with capitalist theory is that you simply do not properly account for the opportunity costs and externalities in the form of ecological and environmental degradation.”

    I addressed this specifically in my post. Read it again.

    “Shopping locally does benefit the community.”

    It may or may not. If shopping at locally owned stores equates with paying higher prices for equal quality merchandise, then it is untrue.

    “Sales support employment which in turn plows more dollars into the local economy.”

    Compared with no jobs, of course this is true. But when compared with employment at national chains, it’s a wash.

    “Sales also support businesses that provide employment, sales tax, and property tax revenue.”

    This is no different when compared with chain stores: they provide employment, sales tax and property tax.

    “So in any number of direct economic ways and in even more cultural and social ways there are advantages to individuals and to the community.”

    This is only true if the locally owned stores provide goods and services for a price as good as their non-local competitors. Otherwise, keeping out the nationals is a way of reducing the wealth of local consumers (because they have to spend more to buy products), and by reducing their wealth, you are taking away money that local consumers might have used to support local charities and other local concerns.

    “I don’t know what color the sky is to you, but your statement above clearly shows you are way off and rude.”

    That’s a rather rude ad hominem attack.

    “You sir, are the one who exhibits violence. Please be honest with yourself and address it.”

    When the government prohibits a certain business from opening, it does so by threat of violence. I am opposing that violence.

  75. Rich Rifkin

    “If you actually read the literature that discussed big box retail it looks closer to a colonial model than a gain from trade scenario.”

    Perhaps you could explain what your understanding of “the colonial model” is.

    Marxists ideologues used to preach that colonies inherently suffered by trading with their “mother” countries. They argued, for example that India was poor because it was in an inferior trading position with England. As such, India would have been better off by removing itself from international trade altogether. This cockamamie “autarky” theory, like all Marxist economics, made no sense and proved, in practice, false. Sadly, Mr. Nehru and his daughter bought it hook, line and sinker.

    India, by the 1990s, realized how stupid this was: they threw out the Congress Party, reversed course, opened their economy and have improved greatly ever since.

    “The problem with capitalist theory is that you simply do not properly account for the opportunity costs and externalities in the form of ecological and environmental degradation.”

    I addressed this specifically in my post. Read it again.

    “Shopping locally does benefit the community.”

    It may or may not. If shopping at locally owned stores equates with paying higher prices for equal quality merchandise, then it is untrue.

    “Sales support employment which in turn plows more dollars into the local economy.”

    Compared with no jobs, of course this is true. But when compared with employment at national chains, it’s a wash.

    “Sales also support businesses that provide employment, sales tax, and property tax revenue.”

    This is no different when compared with chain stores: they provide employment, sales tax and property tax.

    “So in any number of direct economic ways and in even more cultural and social ways there are advantages to individuals and to the community.”

    This is only true if the locally owned stores provide goods and services for a price as good as their non-local competitors. Otherwise, keeping out the nationals is a way of reducing the wealth of local consumers (because they have to spend more to buy products), and by reducing their wealth, you are taking away money that local consumers might have used to support local charities and other local concerns.

    “I don’t know what color the sky is to you, but your statement above clearly shows you are way off and rude.”

    That’s a rather rude ad hominem attack.

    “You sir, are the one who exhibits violence. Please be honest with yourself and address it.”

    When the government prohibits a certain business from opening, it does so by threat of violence. I am opposing that violence.

  76. Rich Rifkin

    “If you actually read the literature that discussed big box retail it looks closer to a colonial model than a gain from trade scenario.”

    Perhaps you could explain what your understanding of “the colonial model” is.

    Marxists ideologues used to preach that colonies inherently suffered by trading with their “mother” countries. They argued, for example that India was poor because it was in an inferior trading position with England. As such, India would have been better off by removing itself from international trade altogether. This cockamamie “autarky” theory, like all Marxist economics, made no sense and proved, in practice, false. Sadly, Mr. Nehru and his daughter bought it hook, line and sinker.

    India, by the 1990s, realized how stupid this was: they threw out the Congress Party, reversed course, opened their economy and have improved greatly ever since.

    “The problem with capitalist theory is that you simply do not properly account for the opportunity costs and externalities in the form of ecological and environmental degradation.”

    I addressed this specifically in my post. Read it again.

    “Shopping locally does benefit the community.”

    It may or may not. If shopping at locally owned stores equates with paying higher prices for equal quality merchandise, then it is untrue.

    “Sales support employment which in turn plows more dollars into the local economy.”

    Compared with no jobs, of course this is true. But when compared with employment at national chains, it’s a wash.

    “Sales also support businesses that provide employment, sales tax, and property tax revenue.”

    This is no different when compared with chain stores: they provide employment, sales tax and property tax.

    “So in any number of direct economic ways and in even more cultural and social ways there are advantages to individuals and to the community.”

    This is only true if the locally owned stores provide goods and services for a price as good as their non-local competitors. Otherwise, keeping out the nationals is a way of reducing the wealth of local consumers (because they have to spend more to buy products), and by reducing their wealth, you are taking away money that local consumers might have used to support local charities and other local concerns.

    “I don’t know what color the sky is to you, but your statement above clearly shows you are way off and rude.”

    That’s a rather rude ad hominem attack.

    “You sir, are the one who exhibits violence. Please be honest with yourself and address it.”

    When the government prohibits a certain business from opening, it does so by threat of violence. I am opposing that violence.

  77. don shor

    Rich wrote:
    “Compared with no jobs, of course this is true. But when compared with employment at national chains, it’s a wash.”

    “Sales also support businesses that provide employment, sales tax, and property tax revenue.”

    This is no different when compared with chain stores: they provide employment, sales tax and property tax.

    “So in any number of direct economic ways and in even more cultural and social ways there are advantages to individuals and to the community.”

    This is only true if the locally owned stores provide goods and services for a price as good as their non-local competitors. Otherwise, keeping out the nationals is a way of reducing the wealth of local consumers (because they have to spend more to buy products), and by reducing their wealth, you are taking away money that local consumers might have used to support local charities and other local concerns.
    ————
    The multiplier effect of buying from locally owned stores has been documented. I recommend Big Box Swindle by Stacy Mitchell for more information.
    Here’s one article about studies on the subject.

    Local Ownership Pays Off for Communities

    By Jennifer Rockne and Jeff Milchen
    Published May 2003

    The Multiplier Effect Quantified
    First is an economic impact study done by Civic Economics in Austin, Texas (population 657,000). It revealed that each dollar spent at two locally owned book and music stores, Book People and Waterloo Records, creates more than three times the local economic activity of dollars spent at a typical Borders Books & Music Corp. store.

    The study was initiated to provide hard data with which to evaluate a potential 25,000 square foot Borders store as part of a new retail development on the same block as those independent businesses. The two local retailers opened their books for the study. Civic Economics utilized numerous sources to determine the Borders impact, including interviews with former employees, the company’s public records, and studies of similar stores conducted by Bank of America.

    1) the local businesses have larger payrolls, employing their own ad writers, buyers, accountants, and other positions that chains centralize in a single headquarters.

    2) locally owned businesses make more of their own purchases locally.

    3) more of the profits at locally owned businesses recirculate in the community.

    The study also included the competitive impact of the proposed Borders store and projected that half of Borders’ sales would be siphoned from Waterloo and Book People. …

    Bigger Isn’t Better for Economic Return
    The second study demonstrates that growth does not necessarily mean increased net revenue–in fact, many types of development actually drain local economies. Tischler & Associates studied various types of residential and commercial developments in Barnstable, Mass (population 48,000) and compared the tax revenue they generated with the cost of providing additional required services. The findings? Big box retail, shopping centers, and fast-food restaurants cost taxpayers more than they produce.

    The biggest drain is fast-food restaurants with a net annual deficit of $5,168 per 1,000 square feet, with big box retail developments at a loss of $468 per 1,000 square feet, and shopping centers at $314 per 1,000 square feet.

    Smaller specialty retail (not big box “category killers”) was found to generate positive returns, returning $326 per 1,000 square feet to the community. Other positive producers include business parks, offices, and hotels.

    So why the higher costs from big box and fast food development? The biggest expenses generated came from higher road maintenance costs and greater demand for public safety services–especially police calls for commercial crime.

    Hidden Costs
    … Pineville, NC. … tightened its zoning rules and turned down two retail developments, including a Wal-Mart Inc. “supercenter.”

    The decision came after city officials had to raise taxes to subsidize all the added public costs generated by big box stores and strip development. They projected that Wal-Mart would create the need to hire two new police officers at a cost of $120,000 per year, far exceeding the municipal revenue the store would generate. Commercial properties account for 96 percent of all police calls in Pineville. Even though a growing number of communites now charge impact fees for the initial costs generated by big box developments, the public pays for their ongoing drain on resources.

    Many more communities are coming to grips with the public law enforcement costs created by big box stores. In East Lampeter, Pennsylvania, District Justice Ronald Savage has added two days to the monthly court calendar just to deal with crimes at Wal-Mart, which account for about one-quarter of the town’s non-traffic citations, criminal misdemeanors, and felony complaints.

    * A survey published in September, 2003 produced results nearly identical to those in Austin regarding the multiplier effect for dollars spent at locally owned businesses. The analysis by the Institute for Local Self-Reliance and Friends of Midcoast Maine tracked the revenue and expenditures of eight locally owned businesses in the Maine towns of Rockland, Camden, and Belfast and compared their economic impact to that of two corporate chains; Target and Wal-Mart. The local businesses represented a range of goods and services, and collectively employed 62 people and had sales of $5.7 million in 2002.

    The survey found that the businesses spent 44.6 percent of their revenue within the surrounding two counties. Another 8.7 percent was spent elsewhere in the state of Maine. The four largest components of this local spending were: wages and benefits paid to local employees; goods and services purchased from other local businesses; profits that accrued to local owners; and taxes paid to local and state government.

    All eight of the surveyed businesses banked with locally owned banks. They purchased some inventory from local manufacturers, advertised in local newspapers, and hired local accountants, printers, internet service providers, and repair people.

    The other 46.7 percent of their revenue left the state. This out-of-state spending included inventory purchased from out-of-state companies, mortgage interest, rent, credit card fees, supplies, insurance, and equipment leasing.

    A similar expenditure profile was created for a big box retailer. Because national retailers do not reveal detailed financial information, the study estimated expenditures (payroll, supplies, services, utilities, taxes, etc.) based on national data, statements by company officials, and employment and property tax information on one of its Maine outlets.

    The survey found that the chain returns 14.1 percent of its revenue to the local economy, mostly in the form of payroll. The analysis concludes that expanding local businesses would be a better economic development strategy for the region than bringing in large chains.

    The survey also found that the local businesses contributed 0.4 percent of their gross revenue to charity. That’s four times as much, relative to overall sales, as Wal-Mart gave to charity in 2002, and twice as much as Target gave.

  78. don shor

    Rich wrote:
    “Compared with no jobs, of course this is true. But when compared with employment at national chains, it’s a wash.”

    “Sales also support businesses that provide employment, sales tax, and property tax revenue.”

    This is no different when compared with chain stores: they provide employment, sales tax and property tax.

    “So in any number of direct economic ways and in even more cultural and social ways there are advantages to individuals and to the community.”

    This is only true if the locally owned stores provide goods and services for a price as good as their non-local competitors. Otherwise, keeping out the nationals is a way of reducing the wealth of local consumers (because they have to spend more to buy products), and by reducing their wealth, you are taking away money that local consumers might have used to support local charities and other local concerns.
    ————
    The multiplier effect of buying from locally owned stores has been documented. I recommend Big Box Swindle by Stacy Mitchell for more information.
    Here’s one article about studies on the subject.

    Local Ownership Pays Off for Communities

    By Jennifer Rockne and Jeff Milchen
    Published May 2003

    The Multiplier Effect Quantified
    First is an economic impact study done by Civic Economics in Austin, Texas (population 657,000). It revealed that each dollar spent at two locally owned book and music stores, Book People and Waterloo Records, creates more than three times the local economic activity of dollars spent at a typical Borders Books & Music Corp. store.

    The study was initiated to provide hard data with which to evaluate a potential 25,000 square foot Borders store as part of a new retail development on the same block as those independent businesses. The two local retailers opened their books for the study. Civic Economics utilized numerous sources to determine the Borders impact, including interviews with former employees, the company’s public records, and studies of similar stores conducted by Bank of America.

    1) the local businesses have larger payrolls, employing their own ad writers, buyers, accountants, and other positions that chains centralize in a single headquarters.

    2) locally owned businesses make more of their own purchases locally.

    3) more of the profits at locally owned businesses recirculate in the community.

    The study also included the competitive impact of the proposed Borders store and projected that half of Borders’ sales would be siphoned from Waterloo and Book People. …

    Bigger Isn’t Better for Economic Return
    The second study demonstrates that growth does not necessarily mean increased net revenue–in fact, many types of development actually drain local economies. Tischler & Associates studied various types of residential and commercial developments in Barnstable, Mass (population 48,000) and compared the tax revenue they generated with the cost of providing additional required services. The findings? Big box retail, shopping centers, and fast-food restaurants cost taxpayers more than they produce.

    The biggest drain is fast-food restaurants with a net annual deficit of $5,168 per 1,000 square feet, with big box retail developments at a loss of $468 per 1,000 square feet, and shopping centers at $314 per 1,000 square feet.

    Smaller specialty retail (not big box “category killers”) was found to generate positive returns, returning $326 per 1,000 square feet to the community. Other positive producers include business parks, offices, and hotels.

    So why the higher costs from big box and fast food development? The biggest expenses generated came from higher road maintenance costs and greater demand for public safety services–especially police calls for commercial crime.

    Hidden Costs
    … Pineville, NC. … tightened its zoning rules and turned down two retail developments, including a Wal-Mart Inc. “supercenter.”

    The decision came after city officials had to raise taxes to subsidize all the added public costs generated by big box stores and strip development. They projected that Wal-Mart would create the need to hire two new police officers at a cost of $120,000 per year, far exceeding the municipal revenue the store would generate. Commercial properties account for 96 percent of all police calls in Pineville. Even though a growing number of communites now charge impact fees for the initial costs generated by big box developments, the public pays for their ongoing drain on resources.

    Many more communities are coming to grips with the public law enforcement costs created by big box stores. In East Lampeter, Pennsylvania, District Justice Ronald Savage has added two days to the monthly court calendar just to deal with crimes at Wal-Mart, which account for about one-quarter of the town’s non-traffic citations, criminal misdemeanors, and felony complaints.

    * A survey published in September, 2003 produced results nearly identical to those in Austin regarding the multiplier effect for dollars spent at locally owned businesses. The analysis by the Institute for Local Self-Reliance and Friends of Midcoast Maine tracked the revenue and expenditures of eight locally owned businesses in the Maine towns of Rockland, Camden, and Belfast and compared their economic impact to that of two corporate chains; Target and Wal-Mart. The local businesses represented a range of goods and services, and collectively employed 62 people and had sales of $5.7 million in 2002.

    The survey found that the businesses spent 44.6 percent of their revenue within the surrounding two counties. Another 8.7 percent was spent elsewhere in the state of Maine. The four largest components of this local spending were: wages and benefits paid to local employees; goods and services purchased from other local businesses; profits that accrued to local owners; and taxes paid to local and state government.

    All eight of the surveyed businesses banked with locally owned banks. They purchased some inventory from local manufacturers, advertised in local newspapers, and hired local accountants, printers, internet service providers, and repair people.

    The other 46.7 percent of their revenue left the state. This out-of-state spending included inventory purchased from out-of-state companies, mortgage interest, rent, credit card fees, supplies, insurance, and equipment leasing.

    A similar expenditure profile was created for a big box retailer. Because national retailers do not reveal detailed financial information, the study estimated expenditures (payroll, supplies, services, utilities, taxes, etc.) based on national data, statements by company officials, and employment and property tax information on one of its Maine outlets.

    The survey found that the chain returns 14.1 percent of its revenue to the local economy, mostly in the form of payroll. The analysis concludes that expanding local businesses would be a better economic development strategy for the region than bringing in large chains.

    The survey also found that the local businesses contributed 0.4 percent of their gross revenue to charity. That’s four times as much, relative to overall sales, as Wal-Mart gave to charity in 2002, and twice as much as Target gave.

  79. don shor

    Rich wrote:
    “Compared with no jobs, of course this is true. But when compared with employment at national chains, it’s a wash.”

    “Sales also support businesses that provide employment, sales tax, and property tax revenue.”

    This is no different when compared with chain stores: they provide employment, sales tax and property tax.

    “So in any number of direct economic ways and in even more cultural and social ways there are advantages to individuals and to the community.”

    This is only true if the locally owned stores provide goods and services for a price as good as their non-local competitors. Otherwise, keeping out the nationals is a way of reducing the wealth of local consumers (because they have to spend more to buy products), and by reducing their wealth, you are taking away money that local consumers might have used to support local charities and other local concerns.
    ————
    The multiplier effect of buying from locally owned stores has been documented. I recommend Big Box Swindle by Stacy Mitchell for more information.
    Here’s one article about studies on the subject.

    Local Ownership Pays Off for Communities

    By Jennifer Rockne and Jeff Milchen
    Published May 2003

    The Multiplier Effect Quantified
    First is an economic impact study done by Civic Economics in Austin, Texas (population 657,000). It revealed that each dollar spent at two locally owned book and music stores, Book People and Waterloo Records, creates more than three times the local economic activity of dollars spent at a typical Borders Books & Music Corp. store.

    The study was initiated to provide hard data with which to evaluate a potential 25,000 square foot Borders store as part of a new retail development on the same block as those independent businesses. The two local retailers opened their books for the study. Civic Economics utilized numerous sources to determine the Borders impact, including interviews with former employees, the company’s public records, and studies of similar stores conducted by Bank of America.

    1) the local businesses have larger payrolls, employing their own ad writers, buyers, accountants, and other positions that chains centralize in a single headquarters.

    2) locally owned businesses make more of their own purchases locally.

    3) more of the profits at locally owned businesses recirculate in the community.

    The study also included the competitive impact of the proposed Borders store and projected that half of Borders’ sales would be siphoned from Waterloo and Book People. …

    Bigger Isn’t Better for Economic Return
    The second study demonstrates that growth does not necessarily mean increased net revenue–in fact, many types of development actually drain local economies. Tischler & Associates studied various types of residential and commercial developments in Barnstable, Mass (population 48,000) and compared the tax revenue they generated with the cost of providing additional required services. The findings? Big box retail, shopping centers, and fast-food restaurants cost taxpayers more than they produce.

    The biggest drain is fast-food restaurants with a net annual deficit of $5,168 per 1,000 square feet, with big box retail developments at a loss of $468 per 1,000 square feet, and shopping centers at $314 per 1,000 square feet.

    Smaller specialty retail (not big box “category killers”) was found to generate positive returns, returning $326 per 1,000 square feet to the community. Other positive producers include business parks, offices, and hotels.

    So why the higher costs from big box and fast food development? The biggest expenses generated came from higher road maintenance costs and greater demand for public safety services–especially police calls for commercial crime.

    Hidden Costs
    … Pineville, NC. … tightened its zoning rules and turned down two retail developments, including a Wal-Mart Inc. “supercenter.”

    The decision came after city officials had to raise taxes to subsidize all the added public costs generated by big box stores and strip development. They projected that Wal-Mart would create the need to hire two new police officers at a cost of $120,000 per year, far exceeding the municipal revenue the store would generate. Commercial properties account for 96 percent of all police calls in Pineville. Even though a growing number of communites now charge impact fees for the initial costs generated by big box developments, the public pays for their ongoing drain on resources.

    Many more communities are coming to grips with the public law enforcement costs created by big box stores. In East Lampeter, Pennsylvania, District Justice Ronald Savage has added two days to the monthly court calendar just to deal with crimes at Wal-Mart, which account for about one-quarter of the town’s non-traffic citations, criminal misdemeanors, and felony complaints.

    * A survey published in September, 2003 produced results nearly identical to those in Austin regarding the multiplier effect for dollars spent at locally owned businesses. The analysis by the Institute for Local Self-Reliance and Friends of Midcoast Maine tracked the revenue and expenditures of eight locally owned businesses in the Maine towns of Rockland, Camden, and Belfast and compared their economic impact to that of two corporate chains; Target and Wal-Mart. The local businesses represented a range of goods and services, and collectively employed 62 people and had sales of $5.7 million in 2002.

    The survey found that the businesses spent 44.6 percent of their revenue within the surrounding two counties. Another 8.7 percent was spent elsewhere in the state of Maine. The four largest components of this local spending were: wages and benefits paid to local employees; goods and services purchased from other local businesses; profits that accrued to local owners; and taxes paid to local and state government.

    All eight of the surveyed businesses banked with locally owned banks. They purchased some inventory from local manufacturers, advertised in local newspapers, and hired local accountants, printers, internet service providers, and repair people.

    The other 46.7 percent of their revenue left the state. This out-of-state spending included inventory purchased from out-of-state companies, mortgage interest, rent, credit card fees, supplies, insurance, and equipment leasing.

    A similar expenditure profile was created for a big box retailer. Because national retailers do not reveal detailed financial information, the study estimated expenditures (payroll, supplies, services, utilities, taxes, etc.) based on national data, statements by company officials, and employment and property tax information on one of its Maine outlets.

    The survey found that the chain returns 14.1 percent of its revenue to the local economy, mostly in the form of payroll. The analysis concludes that expanding local businesses would be a better economic development strategy for the region than bringing in large chains.

    The survey also found that the local businesses contributed 0.4 percent of their gross revenue to charity. That’s four times as much, relative to overall sales, as Wal-Mart gave to charity in 2002, and twice as much as Target gave.

  80. don shor

    Rich wrote:
    “Compared with no jobs, of course this is true. But when compared with employment at national chains, it’s a wash.”

    “Sales also support businesses that provide employment, sales tax, and property tax revenue.”

    This is no different when compared with chain stores: they provide employment, sales tax and property tax.

    “So in any number of direct economic ways and in even more cultural and social ways there are advantages to individuals and to the community.”

    This is only true if the locally owned stores provide goods and services for a price as good as their non-local competitors. Otherwise, keeping out the nationals is a way of reducing the wealth of local consumers (because they have to spend more to buy products), and by reducing their wealth, you are taking away money that local consumers might have used to support local charities and other local concerns.
    ————
    The multiplier effect of buying from locally owned stores has been documented. I recommend Big Box Swindle by Stacy Mitchell for more information.
    Here’s one article about studies on the subject.

    Local Ownership Pays Off for Communities

    By Jennifer Rockne and Jeff Milchen
    Published May 2003

    The Multiplier Effect Quantified
    First is an economic impact study done by Civic Economics in Austin, Texas (population 657,000). It revealed that each dollar spent at two locally owned book and music stores, Book People and Waterloo Records, creates more than three times the local economic activity of dollars spent at a typical Borders Books & Music Corp. store.

    The study was initiated to provide hard data with which to evaluate a potential 25,000 square foot Borders store as part of a new retail development on the same block as those independent businesses. The two local retailers opened their books for the study. Civic Economics utilized numerous sources to determine the Borders impact, including interviews with former employees, the company’s public records, and studies of similar stores conducted by Bank of America.

    1) the local businesses have larger payrolls, employing their own ad writers, buyers, accountants, and other positions that chains centralize in a single headquarters.

    2) locally owned businesses make more of their own purchases locally.

    3) more of the profits at locally owned businesses recirculate in the community.

    The study also included the competitive impact of the proposed Borders store and projected that half of Borders’ sales would be siphoned from Waterloo and Book People. …

    Bigger Isn’t Better for Economic Return
    The second study demonstrates that growth does not necessarily mean increased net revenue–in fact, many types of development actually drain local economies. Tischler & Associates studied various types of residential and commercial developments in Barnstable, Mass (population 48,000) and compared the tax revenue they generated with the cost of providing additional required services. The findings? Big box retail, shopping centers, and fast-food restaurants cost taxpayers more than they produce.

    The biggest drain is fast-food restaurants with a net annual deficit of $5,168 per 1,000 square feet, with big box retail developments at a loss of $468 per 1,000 square feet, and shopping centers at $314 per 1,000 square feet.

    Smaller specialty retail (not big box “category killers”) was found to generate positive returns, returning $326 per 1,000 square feet to the community. Other positive producers include business parks, offices, and hotels.

    So why the higher costs from big box and fast food development? The biggest expenses generated came from higher road maintenance costs and greater demand for public safety services–especially police calls for commercial crime.

    Hidden Costs
    … Pineville, NC. … tightened its zoning rules and turned down two retail developments, including a Wal-Mart Inc. “supercenter.”

    The decision came after city officials had to raise taxes to subsidize all the added public costs generated by big box stores and strip development. They projected that Wal-Mart would create the need to hire two new police officers at a cost of $120,000 per year, far exceeding the municipal revenue the store would generate. Commercial properties account for 96 percent of all police calls in Pineville. Even though a growing number of communites now charge impact fees for the initial costs generated by big box developments, the public pays for their ongoing drain on resources.

    Many more communities are coming to grips with the public law enforcement costs created by big box stores. In East Lampeter, Pennsylvania, District Justice Ronald Savage has added two days to the monthly court calendar just to deal with crimes at Wal-Mart, which account for about one-quarter of the town’s non-traffic citations, criminal misdemeanors, and felony complaints.

    * A survey published in September, 2003 produced results nearly identical to those in Austin regarding the multiplier effect for dollars spent at locally owned businesses. The analysis by the Institute for Local Self-Reliance and Friends of Midcoast Maine tracked the revenue and expenditures of eight locally owned businesses in the Maine towns of Rockland, Camden, and Belfast and compared their economic impact to that of two corporate chains; Target and Wal-Mart. The local businesses represented a range of goods and services, and collectively employed 62 people and had sales of $5.7 million in 2002.

    The survey found that the businesses spent 44.6 percent of their revenue within the surrounding two counties. Another 8.7 percent was spent elsewhere in the state of Maine. The four largest components of this local spending were: wages and benefits paid to local employees; goods and services purchased from other local businesses; profits that accrued to local owners; and taxes paid to local and state government.

    All eight of the surveyed businesses banked with locally owned banks. They purchased some inventory from local manufacturers, advertised in local newspapers, and hired local accountants, printers, internet service providers, and repair people.

    The other 46.7 percent of their revenue left the state. This out-of-state spending included inventory purchased from out-of-state companies, mortgage interest, rent, credit card fees, supplies, insurance, and equipment leasing.

    A similar expenditure profile was created for a big box retailer. Because national retailers do not reveal detailed financial information, the study estimated expenditures (payroll, supplies, services, utilities, taxes, etc.) based on national data, statements by company officials, and employment and property tax information on one of its Maine outlets.

    The survey found that the chain returns 14.1 percent of its revenue to the local economy, mostly in the form of payroll. The analysis concludes that expanding local businesses would be a better economic development strategy for the region than bringing in large chains.

    The survey also found that the local businesses contributed 0.4 percent of their gross revenue to charity. That’s four times as much, relative to overall sales, as Wal-Mart gave to charity in 2002, and twice as much as Target gave.

  81. Anonymous

    As an employee of the co-op, I think it is absolutely hilarious how deluded the people of davis are about how the co-op is run and about how it treats its employees. I’ll start with one simple fact.

    Most co-op employees make $8.50/hour and nearly all are *not* students. Even the most experienced and long lived make only marginally more (caps out at $13/hour). We don’t even make enough to shop at the store we work at. There are no special benefits for co op employees either. Not an employee discount, not a free membership, nothing. In short, management (the member-owners) couldn’t really give a *&#@ about us. They may have great rhetoric and safety programs (mostly geared towards lowering workers comp insurance, I guess) but see if you can see past their rehtoric. Then, put your money where your collective mouths are.

    Co-op employees should union up and union up NOW.

  82. Anonymous

    As an employee of the co-op, I think it is absolutely hilarious how deluded the people of davis are about how the co-op is run and about how it treats its employees. I’ll start with one simple fact.

    Most co-op employees make $8.50/hour and nearly all are *not* students. Even the most experienced and long lived make only marginally more (caps out at $13/hour). We don’t even make enough to shop at the store we work at. There are no special benefits for co op employees either. Not an employee discount, not a free membership, nothing. In short, management (the member-owners) couldn’t really give a *&#@ about us. They may have great rhetoric and safety programs (mostly geared towards lowering workers comp insurance, I guess) but see if you can see past their rehtoric. Then, put your money where your collective mouths are.

    Co-op employees should union up and union up NOW.

  83. Anonymous

    As an employee of the co-op, I think it is absolutely hilarious how deluded the people of davis are about how the co-op is run and about how it treats its employees. I’ll start with one simple fact.

    Most co-op employees make $8.50/hour and nearly all are *not* students. Even the most experienced and long lived make only marginally more (caps out at $13/hour). We don’t even make enough to shop at the store we work at. There are no special benefits for co op employees either. Not an employee discount, not a free membership, nothing. In short, management (the member-owners) couldn’t really give a *&#@ about us. They may have great rhetoric and safety programs (mostly geared towards lowering workers comp insurance, I guess) but see if you can see past their rehtoric. Then, put your money where your collective mouths are.

    Co-op employees should union up and union up NOW.

  84. Anonymous

    As an employee of the co-op, I think it is absolutely hilarious how deluded the people of davis are about how the co-op is run and about how it treats its employees. I’ll start with one simple fact.

    Most co-op employees make $8.50/hour and nearly all are *not* students. Even the most experienced and long lived make only marginally more (caps out at $13/hour). We don’t even make enough to shop at the store we work at. There are no special benefits for co op employees either. Not an employee discount, not a free membership, nothing. In short, management (the member-owners) couldn’t really give a *&#@ about us. They may have great rhetoric and safety programs (mostly geared towards lowering workers comp insurance, I guess) but see if you can see past their rehtoric. Then, put your money where your collective mouths are.

    Co-op employees should union up and union up NOW.

  85. Rich Rifkin

    Don,

    Point me to the peer reviewed economic journals those “studies” you cite were published in and I’ll take a look. Based on the very leading titles, my guess is that those “studies” were not scientific.

  86. Rich Rifkin

    Don,

    Point me to the peer reviewed economic journals those “studies” you cite were published in and I’ll take a look. Based on the very leading titles, my guess is that those “studies” were not scientific.

  87. Rich Rifkin

    Don,

    Point me to the peer reviewed economic journals those “studies” you cite were published in and I’ll take a look. Based on the very leading titles, my guess is that those “studies” were not scientific.

  88. Rich Rifkin

    Don,

    Point me to the peer reviewed economic journals those “studies” you cite were published in and I’ll take a look. Based on the very leading titles, my guess is that those “studies” were not scientific.

  89. don shor

    So, Rich, are you telling me that you don’t believe the multiplier effect of locally owned businesses is real? It’s pretty easy to illustrate.
    When I buy my insurance from the local broker, it is advantageous to him, to his employees, and indirectly to the community. I could go on, but I sense that your views on this are set.
    Big box and chain stores damage local communities in many ways. That has been documented so thoroughly that it seems pointless to seek out “peer-reviewed” studies for you. I also think you are elevating economics to the level of an empirical science. That seems pretty sophomoric to me.

  90. don shor

    So, Rich, are you telling me that you don’t believe the multiplier effect of locally owned businesses is real? It’s pretty easy to illustrate.
    When I buy my insurance from the local broker, it is advantageous to him, to his employees, and indirectly to the community. I could go on, but I sense that your views on this are set.
    Big box and chain stores damage local communities in many ways. That has been documented so thoroughly that it seems pointless to seek out “peer-reviewed” studies for you. I also think you are elevating economics to the level of an empirical science. That seems pretty sophomoric to me.

  91. don shor

    So, Rich, are you telling me that you don’t believe the multiplier effect of locally owned businesses is real? It’s pretty easy to illustrate.
    When I buy my insurance from the local broker, it is advantageous to him, to his employees, and indirectly to the community. I could go on, but I sense that your views on this are set.
    Big box and chain stores damage local communities in many ways. That has been documented so thoroughly that it seems pointless to seek out “peer-reviewed” studies for you. I also think you are elevating economics to the level of an empirical science. That seems pretty sophomoric to me.

  92. don shor

    So, Rich, are you telling me that you don’t believe the multiplier effect of locally owned businesses is real? It’s pretty easy to illustrate.
    When I buy my insurance from the local broker, it is advantageous to him, to his employees, and indirectly to the community. I could go on, but I sense that your views on this are set.
    Big box and chain stores damage local communities in many ways. That has been documented so thoroughly that it seems pointless to seek out “peer-reviewed” studies for you. I also think you are elevating economics to the level of an empirical science. That seems pretty sophomoric to me.

  93. diogenes

    Thanks for the post Don, I will take a look at the studies. It may be that cities should “charge” more for big boxes so that the costs of having them doesn’t overhwhelm the benefits.

    Altogether, judgement about whether big boxes and large stores are good or bad has to include all the benefits or costs. Effectively subidizing local businesses by forcing consumers to pay higher prices for the same product doesn’t make sense. The benefits to the community have to include the lower prices and greater savings for consumers, and the ability to save more, or spend more at other businesses. Jobs lost are often replaced by growth in new businesses which provide a new or better product or service.

    Economics in a free market economy is a great leveling wind – it takes no prisoners and the most capable survive. Personally, I think consumers deserve a choice, and the business that provides the best products/service for the prices charged should and will survive.

  94. diogenes

    Thanks for the post Don, I will take a look at the studies. It may be that cities should “charge” more for big boxes so that the costs of having them doesn’t overhwhelm the benefits.

    Altogether, judgement about whether big boxes and large stores are good or bad has to include all the benefits or costs. Effectively subidizing local businesses by forcing consumers to pay higher prices for the same product doesn’t make sense. The benefits to the community have to include the lower prices and greater savings for consumers, and the ability to save more, or spend more at other businesses. Jobs lost are often replaced by growth in new businesses which provide a new or better product or service.

    Economics in a free market economy is a great leveling wind – it takes no prisoners and the most capable survive. Personally, I think consumers deserve a choice, and the business that provides the best products/service for the prices charged should and will survive.

  95. diogenes

    Thanks for the post Don, I will take a look at the studies. It may be that cities should “charge” more for big boxes so that the costs of having them doesn’t overhwhelm the benefits.

    Altogether, judgement about whether big boxes and large stores are good or bad has to include all the benefits or costs. Effectively subidizing local businesses by forcing consumers to pay higher prices for the same product doesn’t make sense. The benefits to the community have to include the lower prices and greater savings for consumers, and the ability to save more, or spend more at other businesses. Jobs lost are often replaced by growth in new businesses which provide a new or better product or service.

    Economics in a free market economy is a great leveling wind – it takes no prisoners and the most capable survive. Personally, I think consumers deserve a choice, and the business that provides the best products/service for the prices charged should and will survive.

  96. diogenes

    Thanks for the post Don, I will take a look at the studies. It may be that cities should “charge” more for big boxes so that the costs of having them doesn’t overhwhelm the benefits.

    Altogether, judgement about whether big boxes and large stores are good or bad has to include all the benefits or costs. Effectively subidizing local businesses by forcing consumers to pay higher prices for the same product doesn’t make sense. The benefits to the community have to include the lower prices and greater savings for consumers, and the ability to save more, or spend more at other businesses. Jobs lost are often replaced by growth in new businesses which provide a new or better product or service.

    Economics in a free market economy is a great leveling wind – it takes no prisoners and the most capable survive. Personally, I think consumers deserve a choice, and the business that provides the best products/service for the prices charged should and will survive.

  97. Rich Rifkin

    “So, Rich, are you telling me that you don’t believe the multiplier effect of locally owned businesses is real?”

    No, I believe in the multiplier effect. That’s not a controversy. What I doubt, though, is that the multiplier is substantially higher with a locally owned store than it is with a national chain. And even if it is a bit higher, I doubt that outweighs the local economic benefits of lower prices at the national chain. Keep in mind, when a person saves 20-30% on the price of the merchandise he buys from the national chain, he can take those savings and spend them on other goods in the community. And that secondary spending, which would not occur if he did not have the opportunity to save 20-30%, also has a multiplier effect and more importantly, a wealth effect.

  98. Rich Rifkin

    “So, Rich, are you telling me that you don’t believe the multiplier effect of locally owned businesses is real?”

    No, I believe in the multiplier effect. That’s not a controversy. What I doubt, though, is that the multiplier is substantially higher with a locally owned store than it is with a national chain. And even if it is a bit higher, I doubt that outweighs the local economic benefits of lower prices at the national chain. Keep in mind, when a person saves 20-30% on the price of the merchandise he buys from the national chain, he can take those savings and spend them on other goods in the community. And that secondary spending, which would not occur if he did not have the opportunity to save 20-30%, also has a multiplier effect and more importantly, a wealth effect.

  99. Rich Rifkin

    “So, Rich, are you telling me that you don’t believe the multiplier effect of locally owned businesses is real?”

    No, I believe in the multiplier effect. That’s not a controversy. What I doubt, though, is that the multiplier is substantially higher with a locally owned store than it is with a national chain. And even if it is a bit higher, I doubt that outweighs the local economic benefits of lower prices at the national chain. Keep in mind, when a person saves 20-30% on the price of the merchandise he buys from the national chain, he can take those savings and spend them on other goods in the community. And that secondary spending, which would not occur if he did not have the opportunity to save 20-30%, also has a multiplier effect and more importantly, a wealth effect.

  100. Rich Rifkin

    “So, Rich, are you telling me that you don’t believe the multiplier effect of locally owned businesses is real?”

    No, I believe in the multiplier effect. That’s not a controversy. What I doubt, though, is that the multiplier is substantially higher with a locally owned store than it is with a national chain. And even if it is a bit higher, I doubt that outweighs the local economic benefits of lower prices at the national chain. Keep in mind, when a person saves 20-30% on the price of the merchandise he buys from the national chain, he can take those savings and spend them on other goods in the community. And that secondary spending, which would not occur if he did not have the opportunity to save 20-30%, also has a multiplier effect and more importantly, a wealth effect.

  101. Rich Rifkin

    Don,

    I looked at the “study” by Civic Economics and had to laugh. That is not a scientific study at all. It’s a consultant’s report. That doesn’t mean it is wrong. But it does mean it lacks the credibility that a peer-reviewed study done by a reputale economist would have.

    I also was interested to know the background of the people behind Civic Economics. Reading their report, I could see immediately that they are not trained economists. This is what their website says about them:

    “Matt Cunningham earned a M.S. in Community and Regional Planning from the University of Texas at Austin and a B.A. in Political Science from Binghamton University in Binghamton, New York.

    A native of Tulsa, Dan Houston is a graduate of the University of Kansas and Tulane Law School. As an attorney, Dan practiced in the areas of civil rights and mass torts, eventually serving as Assistant Special Master for Appeals in the largest multi-district litigation in American history. At the age of 30, he left the law to pursue a Master’s Degree in Community and Regional Planning at the University of Texas at Austin.”

  102. Rich Rifkin

    Don,

    I looked at the “study” by Civic Economics and had to laugh. That is not a scientific study at all. It’s a consultant’s report. That doesn’t mean it is wrong. But it does mean it lacks the credibility that a peer-reviewed study done by a reputale economist would have.

    I also was interested to know the background of the people behind Civic Economics. Reading their report, I could see immediately that they are not trained economists. This is what their website says about them:

    “Matt Cunningham earned a M.S. in Community and Regional Planning from the University of Texas at Austin and a B.A. in Political Science from Binghamton University in Binghamton, New York.

    A native of Tulsa, Dan Houston is a graduate of the University of Kansas and Tulane Law School. As an attorney, Dan practiced in the areas of civil rights and mass torts, eventually serving as Assistant Special Master for Appeals in the largest multi-district litigation in American history. At the age of 30, he left the law to pursue a Master’s Degree in Community and Regional Planning at the University of Texas at Austin.”

  103. Rich Rifkin

    Don,

    I looked at the “study” by Civic Economics and had to laugh. That is not a scientific study at all. It’s a consultant’s report. That doesn’t mean it is wrong. But it does mean it lacks the credibility that a peer-reviewed study done by a reputale economist would have.

    I also was interested to know the background of the people behind Civic Economics. Reading their report, I could see immediately that they are not trained economists. This is what their website says about them:

    “Matt Cunningham earned a M.S. in Community and Regional Planning from the University of Texas at Austin and a B.A. in Political Science from Binghamton University in Binghamton, New York.

    A native of Tulsa, Dan Houston is a graduate of the University of Kansas and Tulane Law School. As an attorney, Dan practiced in the areas of civil rights and mass torts, eventually serving as Assistant Special Master for Appeals in the largest multi-district litigation in American history. At the age of 30, he left the law to pursue a Master’s Degree in Community and Regional Planning at the University of Texas at Austin.”

  104. Rich Rifkin

    Don,

    I looked at the “study” by Civic Economics and had to laugh. That is not a scientific study at all. It’s a consultant’s report. That doesn’t mean it is wrong. But it does mean it lacks the credibility that a peer-reviewed study done by a reputale economist would have.

    I also was interested to know the background of the people behind Civic Economics. Reading their report, I could see immediately that they are not trained economists. This is what their website says about them:

    “Matt Cunningham earned a M.S. in Community and Regional Planning from the University of Texas at Austin and a B.A. in Political Science from Binghamton University in Binghamton, New York.

    A native of Tulsa, Dan Houston is a graduate of the University of Kansas and Tulane Law School. As an attorney, Dan practiced in the areas of civil rights and mass torts, eventually serving as Assistant Special Master for Appeals in the largest multi-district litigation in American history. At the age of 30, he left the law to pursue a Master’s Degree in Community and Regional Planning at the University of Texas at Austin.”

  105. Rich Rifkin

    “..if all else fails..let’s try hyperbole! 20-30% less??….nearer 10% has been my experience.”

    It depends on what types of products we’re talking about and assuming they are really the same. One thing locally owned stores often do is provide more customer service and knowledge and help with the product than a chain store can or will. As such, those are not completely equal products.

    Nevertheless, I imagine if you pick out, for example, five major brand name items off the shelf at Davis Ace and total their average price for a six month period (because they may be on sale some times and not others) and compare those same items at Home Depot or Yardbird’s, the chain store will be 30-40% cheaper.

    A number of years ago, when I replaced my aluminum single pane windows with dual-pane low-e vinyl clad windows, I priced them in Davis (at Hibbert) and at all of the major chain stores in our area. (I don’t think I checked at Davis Ace.) My experience was that at Yardbird’s (which is a regional, not national chain), I paid about half as much for the same quality of window that Hibbert’s had. Home Depot and Lowe’s at that time were about 25% more than Yardbird’s was. When you are buying thousands of dollars of windows, that 50% savings really matters.

    I don’t know what the difference would be with grocery stores. A lot depends on whether you buy sale items and what types of products you prefer. My experience has been that, for the things we buy at my house, Safeway and SaveMart are quite a bit cheaper on most things than Nugget is. However, Nugget (a local chain) has some good sales, and they have a superior store, in terms of aesthetics and service. So maybe it’s an apples and oranges comparison.

    When it comes to Target, they have great prices on basic clothes (socks, underwear, shoes, t-shirts, jeans, etc). We never buy those things in Davis, anyhow. But I imagine that the price on those items from Target is around 30% less than Gottschalks, most of the time.

    So all in all, 20-30% does not seem an unreasonable differential, assuming we’re really talking about the same products.

  106. Rich Rifkin

    “..if all else fails..let’s try hyperbole! 20-30% less??….nearer 10% has been my experience.”

    It depends on what types of products we’re talking about and assuming they are really the same. One thing locally owned stores often do is provide more customer service and knowledge and help with the product than a chain store can or will. As such, those are not completely equal products.

    Nevertheless, I imagine if you pick out, for example, five major brand name items off the shelf at Davis Ace and total their average price for a six month period (because they may be on sale some times and not others) and compare those same items at Home Depot or Yardbird’s, the chain store will be 30-40% cheaper.

    A number of years ago, when I replaced my aluminum single pane windows with dual-pane low-e vinyl clad windows, I priced them in Davis (at Hibbert) and at all of the major chain stores in our area. (I don’t think I checked at Davis Ace.) My experience was that at Yardbird’s (which is a regional, not national chain), I paid about half as much for the same quality of window that Hibbert’s had. Home Depot and Lowe’s at that time were about 25% more than Yardbird’s was. When you are buying thousands of dollars of windows, that 50% savings really matters.

    I don’t know what the difference would be with grocery stores. A lot depends on whether you buy sale items and what types of products you prefer. My experience has been that, for the things we buy at my house, Safeway and SaveMart are quite a bit cheaper on most things than Nugget is. However, Nugget (a local chain) has some good sales, and they have a superior store, in terms of aesthetics and service. So maybe it’s an apples and oranges comparison.

    When it comes to Target, they have great prices on basic clothes (socks, underwear, shoes, t-shirts, jeans, etc). We never buy those things in Davis, anyhow. But I imagine that the price on those items from Target is around 30% less than Gottschalks, most of the time.

    So all in all, 20-30% does not seem an unreasonable differential, assuming we’re really talking about the same products.

  107. Rich Rifkin

    “..if all else fails..let’s try hyperbole! 20-30% less??….nearer 10% has been my experience.”

    It depends on what types of products we’re talking about and assuming they are really the same. One thing locally owned stores often do is provide more customer service and knowledge and help with the product than a chain store can or will. As such, those are not completely equal products.

    Nevertheless, I imagine if you pick out, for example, five major brand name items off the shelf at Davis Ace and total their average price for a six month period (because they may be on sale some times and not others) and compare those same items at Home Depot or Yardbird’s, the chain store will be 30-40% cheaper.

    A number of years ago, when I replaced my aluminum single pane windows with dual-pane low-e vinyl clad windows, I priced them in Davis (at Hibbert) and at all of the major chain stores in our area. (I don’t think I checked at Davis Ace.) My experience was that at Yardbird’s (which is a regional, not national chain), I paid about half as much for the same quality of window that Hibbert’s had. Home Depot and Lowe’s at that time were about 25% more than Yardbird’s was. When you are buying thousands of dollars of windows, that 50% savings really matters.

    I don’t know what the difference would be with grocery stores. A lot depends on whether you buy sale items and what types of products you prefer. My experience has been that, for the things we buy at my house, Safeway and SaveMart are quite a bit cheaper on most things than Nugget is. However, Nugget (a local chain) has some good sales, and they have a superior store, in terms of aesthetics and service. So maybe it’s an apples and oranges comparison.

    When it comes to Target, they have great prices on basic clothes (socks, underwear, shoes, t-shirts, jeans, etc). We never buy those things in Davis, anyhow. But I imagine that the price on those items from Target is around 30% less than Gottschalks, most of the time.

    So all in all, 20-30% does not seem an unreasonable differential, assuming we’re really talking about the same products.

  108. Rich Rifkin

    “..if all else fails..let’s try hyperbole! 20-30% less??….nearer 10% has been my experience.”

    It depends on what types of products we’re talking about and assuming they are really the same. One thing locally owned stores often do is provide more customer service and knowledge and help with the product than a chain store can or will. As such, those are not completely equal products.

    Nevertheless, I imagine if you pick out, for example, five major brand name items off the shelf at Davis Ace and total their average price for a six month period (because they may be on sale some times and not others) and compare those same items at Home Depot or Yardbird’s, the chain store will be 30-40% cheaper.

    A number of years ago, when I replaced my aluminum single pane windows with dual-pane low-e vinyl clad windows, I priced them in Davis (at Hibbert) and at all of the major chain stores in our area. (I don’t think I checked at Davis Ace.) My experience was that at Yardbird’s (which is a regional, not national chain), I paid about half as much for the same quality of window that Hibbert’s had. Home Depot and Lowe’s at that time were about 25% more than Yardbird’s was. When you are buying thousands of dollars of windows, that 50% savings really matters.

    I don’t know what the difference would be with grocery stores. A lot depends on whether you buy sale items and what types of products you prefer. My experience has been that, for the things we buy at my house, Safeway and SaveMart are quite a bit cheaper on most things than Nugget is. However, Nugget (a local chain) has some good sales, and they have a superior store, in terms of aesthetics and service. So maybe it’s an apples and oranges comparison.

    When it comes to Target, they have great prices on basic clothes (socks, underwear, shoes, t-shirts, jeans, etc). We never buy those things in Davis, anyhow. But I imagine that the price on those items from Target is around 30% less than Gottschalks, most of the time.

    So all in all, 20-30% does not seem an unreasonable differential, assuming we’re really talking about the same products.

  109. don shor

    Yardbirds is now owned by Home Depot.

    “the chain store will be 30-40% cheaper.”
    Very unlikely. They would be selling almost at cost, which they occasionally do but certainly not across the board. At least in the product lines I’m familiar with, the chain stores use a slightly lower markup than local stores but get a better discount from their wholesaler on some products.

    I would be very surprised if the difference is even anywhere near 20 – 30% on most items. On an occasional item, used as a loss leader, perhaps. Target, Home Depot, and WalMart all use loss leaders.

    “But I imagine that the price on those items from Target is around 30% less than Gottschalks, most of the time.” It seems to me you could just go find out, instead of guessing. Tell you what. I’ll check Gottschalk’s, you check Target, and we can report back. One basic pair of men’s white socks. I’ll get back to you.

  110. don shor

    Yardbirds is now owned by Home Depot.

    “the chain store will be 30-40% cheaper.”
    Very unlikely. They would be selling almost at cost, which they occasionally do but certainly not across the board. At least in the product lines I’m familiar with, the chain stores use a slightly lower markup than local stores but get a better discount from their wholesaler on some products.

    I would be very surprised if the difference is even anywhere near 20 – 30% on most items. On an occasional item, used as a loss leader, perhaps. Target, Home Depot, and WalMart all use loss leaders.

    “But I imagine that the price on those items from Target is around 30% less than Gottschalks, most of the time.” It seems to me you could just go find out, instead of guessing. Tell you what. I’ll check Gottschalk’s, you check Target, and we can report back. One basic pair of men’s white socks. I’ll get back to you.

  111. don shor

    Yardbirds is now owned by Home Depot.

    “the chain store will be 30-40% cheaper.”
    Very unlikely. They would be selling almost at cost, which they occasionally do but certainly not across the board. At least in the product lines I’m familiar with, the chain stores use a slightly lower markup than local stores but get a better discount from their wholesaler on some products.

    I would be very surprised if the difference is even anywhere near 20 – 30% on most items. On an occasional item, used as a loss leader, perhaps. Target, Home Depot, and WalMart all use loss leaders.

    “But I imagine that the price on those items from Target is around 30% less than Gottschalks, most of the time.” It seems to me you could just go find out, instead of guessing. Tell you what. I’ll check Gottschalk’s, you check Target, and we can report back. One basic pair of men’s white socks. I’ll get back to you.

  112. don shor

    Yardbirds is now owned by Home Depot.

    “the chain store will be 30-40% cheaper.”
    Very unlikely. They would be selling almost at cost, which they occasionally do but certainly not across the board. At least in the product lines I’m familiar with, the chain stores use a slightly lower markup than local stores but get a better discount from their wholesaler on some products.

    I would be very surprised if the difference is even anywhere near 20 – 30% on most items. On an occasional item, used as a loss leader, perhaps. Target, Home Depot, and WalMart all use loss leaders.

    “But I imagine that the price on those items from Target is around 30% less than Gottschalks, most of the time.” It seems to me you could just go find out, instead of guessing. Tell you what. I’ll check Gottschalk’s, you check Target, and we can report back. One basic pair of men’s white socks. I’ll get back to you.

  113. don shor


    I looked at the “study” by Civic Economics and had to laugh. That is not a scientific study at all. It’s a consultant’s report. That doesn’t mean it is wrong. But it does mean it lacks the credibility that a peer-reviewed study done by a reputale economist would have.”
    The reason I gave you that example is because the methodology is there for you to examine. Apparently you have a background in economics, so you will know if they used sound methods. Instead, you choose to criticize the credentials of the authors. That’s an interesting rhetorical device, but it doesn’t discredit the study.

  114. don shor


    I looked at the “study” by Civic Economics and had to laugh. That is not a scientific study at all. It’s a consultant’s report. That doesn’t mean it is wrong. But it does mean it lacks the credibility that a peer-reviewed study done by a reputale economist would have.”
    The reason I gave you that example is because the methodology is there for you to examine. Apparently you have a background in economics, so you will know if they used sound methods. Instead, you choose to criticize the credentials of the authors. That’s an interesting rhetorical device, but it doesn’t discredit the study.

  115. don shor


    I looked at the “study” by Civic Economics and had to laugh. That is not a scientific study at all. It’s a consultant’s report. That doesn’t mean it is wrong. But it does mean it lacks the credibility that a peer-reviewed study done by a reputale economist would have.”
    The reason I gave you that example is because the methodology is there for you to examine. Apparently you have a background in economics, so you will know if they used sound methods. Instead, you choose to criticize the credentials of the authors. That’s an interesting rhetorical device, but it doesn’t discredit the study.

  116. don shor


    I looked at the “study” by Civic Economics and had to laugh. That is not a scientific study at all. It’s a consultant’s report. That doesn’t mean it is wrong. But it does mean it lacks the credibility that a peer-reviewed study done by a reputale economist would have.”
    The reason I gave you that example is because the methodology is there for you to examine. Apparently you have a background in economics, so you will know if they used sound methods. Instead, you choose to criticize the credentials of the authors. That’s an interesting rhetorical device, but it doesn’t discredit the study.

  117. home owner

    Don… you are correct
    Rich Rifkin… you are wrong. Having recently done a major remodel, I purchased supplies from Hibbert and Woodland Home Depot The difference was about 10%. As for purchasing windows, my personal experience was that you get about what you pay for and your windows which you think were “of similar quality” at such savings were not, unless it was a special sale.

  118. home owner

    Don… you are correct
    Rich Rifkin… you are wrong. Having recently done a major remodel, I purchased supplies from Hibbert and Woodland Home Depot The difference was about 10%. As for purchasing windows, my personal experience was that you get about what you pay for and your windows which you think were “of similar quality” at such savings were not, unless it was a special sale.

  119. home owner

    Don… you are correct
    Rich Rifkin… you are wrong. Having recently done a major remodel, I purchased supplies from Hibbert and Woodland Home Depot The difference was about 10%. As for purchasing windows, my personal experience was that you get about what you pay for and your windows which you think were “of similar quality” at such savings were not, unless it was a special sale.

  120. home owner

    Don… you are correct
    Rich Rifkin… you are wrong. Having recently done a major remodel, I purchased supplies from Hibbert and Woodland Home Depot The difference was about 10%. As for purchasing windows, my personal experience was that you get about what you pay for and your windows which you think were “of similar quality” at such savings were not, unless it was a special sale.

Leave a Reply

X Close

Newsletter Sign-Up

X Close

Monthly Subscriber Sign-Up

Enter the maximum amount you want to pay each month
$ USD
Sign up for