There is an outdated belief that persists among some economists and municipalities that attracting chain stores and big business to a community will improve any local economy, however in most cases it is a practice that can costs taxpayers billions of dollars each year, as well as put many local outfits out of business.
In reality, it is small businesses and entrepreneurial ventures that create most of the new jobs year after year, whether they have a wide global reach or just exist for a small local community. In general entrepreneurs also help build communities by conducting business locally, investing in community projects, and giving to local charities.
Unfortunately, the odds are against them, and many fail as there are numerous costs and challenges to starting a business; some fail because they were crushed by corporate bullies.
Since my homecoming ten years ago I have seen so many of these ventures start right here on Cape Cod, from food and beverage products and clothing lines to cleaning businesses and retail stores. And I have also seen a few of them have to fight in an economy stacked against them against big corporations (who seem to have more rights than most people) in order to keep their dreams alive.
One notable example is the legal fight in which Cape Cloth has been embroiled for the better part of a year with Diadora and their trademark lawyer who claims the Cape Cloth logo is too similar to their client’s (in my opinion there would never be any confusion – especially since Diadora virtually disappeared in the mid-1990s – but you can make your own judgement). In his first year in business Cape Cloth founder Sean Fitzpatrick has already spent thousands of dollars in legal fees.
Not only does this type of corporate intimidation cost the entrepreneurs and small businesses a lot of money, but it costs the local, national and global economy billions of dollars annually.
This is just another reason to shop small and buy local – show your support for the local businesses that make our economy strong.