New report sheds light on challenges facing local small businesses

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Courtesy of Peter Schmeck

HYANNIS – Small business advocacy group Love Live Local has highlighted the challenges facing small businesses with its report examining corporate concentration, power consolidation and the impacts it is having on Cape Cod businesses .

CEO Amanda Converse said the Local Matters report is the result of a year-long investigation of eight sectors, including retail, food, restaurants, banking, broadband, pick-up waste, pharmacies and newspapers, and revealed a continuing trend towards fewer and fewer companies controlling more and more and more of a sector.

“For example, between 2007 and 2017, the number of small retailers dropped by 65,000. Most food is produced by mega food companies – we think we have a ton of choice when we walk into grocery stores, but most food businesses are run by three to four large companies,” Converse said.

“Other things that shocked me is the number of local banks which has gone from 12,000 in the 1990s to 3,000 today. We are lucky here on Cape Cod, we have strong local banks, but we had a lot more before.

She also mentioned that Comcast being the majority Internet provider in Cape Town is another example of the consolidation trend, as well as the disappearance of local pharmacies in favor of CVS, Walgreens and other companies.

Converse said that as COVID relief money is rolled out, governments and other agencies should prioritize small businesses and the local economy.

According to Converse, the money would be well spent, as local businesses are much more likely to reinvest the funds back into the local economy than larger companies, where the money would leave Cape Town with little chance of returning.

“I don’t want people to think we are immune to the impacts of corporate power and concentration that are happening where we consider out of Cape Town. We are not immune to this. We see the impacts here on Cape Town. That’s what we wanted to emphasize in this report,” Converse said.

The full report is available on the Love Live Local website here.

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