Saturday, February 25, 2006

Community Owned Department Stores

Arthur, Nebraska (Pop. 130), Powell, Wyoming (Pop. 5,300), Ely, Nevada (Pop. 4,000), Hebron, New Hampshire (Pop. 400) all have community owned department stores. Middlebury, VT (Pop. 8,500) residents think a community owned department store in the center of town would be better than allowing a big box like Wal-Mart to be built close by. Residents of Greenfield, Massachusetts are exploring the same idea. Read more here, here, here and here.

Leaders in Saranac Lake should at least be exploring other options besides the 'easy option' of letting Wal-Mart build in SL.

NOTE: Community Corporations

As Shuman defines community corporations, their ownership and control is institutionally bound to local people. Not surprisingly, Shuman includes municipal public enterprises, worker and consumer cooperatives, credit unions, and community-based non-profits in the category of community corporations. What is more novel is his advocacy of another type of community corporation: the for-profit corporation with a residential restriction on stock ownership. This locally-owned for-profit community corporation is one where voting shares are restricted to local residents and where no one interest can own more than a small proportion of the shares and votes. Its big advantage is that it limits the capital mobility that has devastated so many communities in recent decades.

I found this definition of a community corporation here.

I didn't know that the Green Bay Packers Football franchise is a community owned corporation. That is why they have never moved away from Green Bay, WI.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

A community owned department store is a great idea. Unfortunately, folks like Cliff Donaldson haven't considered it as of yet. He was only going after EXISTING stores like Target, Kohl's, Hacketts, etc. And of course he went after Wal-Mart. But he NEVER considered another option because it was probably never brought to his attention.
Everyone seems to think we need to go after EXISTING STORES. But why should we if there is a much better alternative? The store in Powell, Wyoning is about 10,000 square feet. That amount of space should be sufficient to get us started. And where to put it? Try Depot Street. The property there is just CRYING to be developed!! When I mentioned this idea to a few of my friends, they were ready to write their check and contribute.
Hello? This type of store certainly wouldn't HAVE OUR LITTLE COMMUNITY SO DIVIDED. And if it worked in Powell, and other communities, it can certainly work here! We were not named All American City in 1998 for nothing!