Large retail chains have become the most powerful corporations in America and are rapidly transforming our economy, communities, and landscape. In this deft and revealing book, Stacy Mitchell illustrates how mega-retailers are fueling many of our most pressing problems, from the shrinking middle class to rising water pollution and diminished civic engagement.
Mitchell's investigation takes us from the suburbs of Cleveland to a fruit farm in California, the stockroom of an Oregon Wal-Mart, and a Pennsylvania town's Main Street. She uncovers the shocking role government policy has played in the expansion of mega-retailers and builds a compelling case that communities composed of many small businesses are healthier and more prosperous than those dominated by large chains.
More than a critique, Big-Box Swindle draws on real life to show how some communities are successfully countering the spread of mega-retailers and rebuilding their local economies. Mitchell describes innovative approaches-from cutting-edge land-use policies to small-business initiatives-that together provide a detailed road map to a more prosperous and sustainable future.
About the Author
Stacy Mitchell is a regular speaker and advisor to communities on retail development and independent business. A senior researcher with the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, she chairs the American Independent Business Alliance . Mitchell regularly contributes articles and commentaries to magazines and newspapers, and produces an acclaimed monthly email newsletter, The Hometown Advantage Bulletin. She lives in Portland, Maine.
"In the muckraking tradition of Fast Food Nation and Nickel and Dimed, this is a searing indictment of the impact of behemoth retailers (Wal-Mart, Costco, Best Buy, et al.) on this country, its landscape and small towns, as well as the global marketplace. An independent business activist from Maine fills this urgent book with eye-openers on every page, including many trenchant examples from the Northwest." —John Marshall, Seattle Post-Intelligencer
"What Nickel and Dimed did for the Wal-Mart worker, Mitchell does for the community threatened by mega-retailers."—Bill McKibben, author of The End of Nature