The ongoing struggle of the independent retailers vs. the big-box retailers is the focus of many blog entries (mine included).  There is a new entry ("Film traces struggles of mom-and-pop shops") on’s Small Biz Blog that summarizes a movie by independent filmmakers Hanson Hosein and Heather Hughes.

The couples’ documentary is available on their website, and the trailer is on YouTube.  The trailer is very engaging, and I’m looking forward to sitting down later today to watch the movie.  Two former journalists trek across America to highlight the business of fighting against "big business" and "the corporate machine".

While they didn’t come through Richmond, don’t think that this doesn’t affect us locally.  If you don’t believe that, then just do some local searches on the battle from a few years ago in Ashland against the establishment of a new Wal-Mart.

Another recent example of the local reflection of this national issue is the VCU graphic design project put together the Fall 2006 semester that emphasized the benefits to the community of shopping with locally owned shops.  From the words on their own site:

ShopRVA is a coordinated effort to direct the public towards shopping
at local, independently owned businesses. This is not only to benefit
small stores. The act of buying locally allows cities to be more
self-sustaining and helps prevent intervention from corporate business.
Small businesses also add to the unique nature of the city by providing
services that cannot be found anywhere else in the world. Through this
campaign, ShopRVA hopes to provide incentive through education as to
why shopping locally is a wise way to give back to your community.

It’s a worthwhile project, and I hope it doesn’t die just because the class that put it together is over.  I have the feeling it will disappear with the tide of students that created it, but it is a movement that someone should take up.

Does anyone else know of local movements here in Richmond, or anywhere else, that falls in the same vein?

3 Thoughts on “Plight of the Independents”

  • I thought you might be interested in the work of our organization. The American Independent Business Alliance is a national 501c3 non-profit organization dedicated to reversing the trend of chains displacing locally-owned independent businesses and restoring decision making authority over community future to the people who call it “home.” We help communities organize and perpetuate Independent Business Alliances that engage in public education about the benefits locally-owned independent businesses provide the community, group promotion and advertising to elevate the collective profile of those businesses in the community, and local advocacy to bring the voice of the established small business community to the economic development table. We currently have 32 affiliates around the country with more on the way. Feel free to contact us — 406-582-1255; I also invite you to visit our website at

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