Best of the Web: Large-format retail
November 22, 2009
■ I don't know if these numbers are still applicable, but earlier studies in Maine and in Austin, Texas, found that 14 percent of a dollar spent in a chain stayed in the local economy. The studies found that 45 percent of a dollar spent in a locally owned store stayed in the local economy. That's 31 cents of every dollar getting recirculated in Steamboat if you shop at locally owned stores.
On the other hand, the city wants those sales tax dollars a Target would capture. The logic being a Target here keeps our dollars from flowing toward I-70.
Will this recession turn the city pro big box and against local businesses?
Others point to the damage the Internet does. Perhaps this area is ripe for a city audit. Is that city tax you paid for your Dell actually getting here?
■ I really don't see the issue as locals shopping locally. The leakage has existed since the first pioneers crossed over from Breckenridge into the Yampa Valley. … I can remember listening to old timers tell me their stories of heading to Denver in the fall to get provisions for the winter and that it was a weeklong excursion one way. Even as a kid, I can remember my family taking our annual trip to the predecessor of Costco (Pace) to stock up for the winter. So, nothing new there. It would be my hypothesis that it may increase leakage by a rounding error if a big box store were closer.
■ To play Devil's Advocate, I have to ask, why are people against new jobs? Think of the construction, cashier, manager, etc., jobs that would open up. We already have chains in town that can theoretically take away from Mom and Pop business, so what's the big difference? I used to work at Starbucks, and I know people touted it as the "Big, Bad Wolf" when it came to town (think "Friends Don't Let Friends Drink Starbucks), but Starbucks paid me a competitive wage, offered full health/vision/dental benefits, and it was the assurance that by working for a large company, I would be taken care of. And if everyone hired by these companies lives within town, wouldn't their paychecks be adding to the economic stimulation of Steamboat Springs? In tough times, can we really say no to companies wanting to come in and open up new jobs and affordable benefits?