The health of our communities and even ourselves may depend on whether indie stores like Powell's succeeds.
Powell's Books, one of the nation's largest and best-known book retailers, has stopped selling on Amazon after 20+ years, shares RetailDive. The store cited how bad Amazon is long-term for itself and communities. The store realized it was sharpening its executioner’s sword, as Scott Galloway has said ruefully.
I found this quote from the owner insightful:
"Shopping locally and shopping within your community makes a real long-term difference. ...Portland...is built with the idea of a walkable community, with stores and restaurants. We wanted to renew that message to our community..."
I hadn't realized the connection between "a walkable community" and independent stores--but now it seems obvious. When people decide to shop at Walmart or Amazon, they are also likely choosing to: not walk. You drive to Walmart. You don't walk. And you surely don't have to do any walking with Amazon delivery.
Big-box stores, Amazon, and cars are the flip side of indie stores and walking. Due to this, if we want independent stores to compete against Walmart and Amazon, we may have a much larger challenge ahead of us. We may have to lay more sidewalks, build more mixed-use communities, and make gasoline more expensive.
If big-box stores correlate to (the lack of) walking, I wonder if we could find a correlation between health and big-box shopping. Does the health of a person correlate to how frequently they shop at Amazon and big-box stores? How does the health of a Powell’s customer compare to that of an Amazon customer?
...Are big-box stores making us: bigger?
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