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Free Minds & Free Markets

Are Dollar Stores Really Driving Grocers Out of Business? New at Reason

JIM YOUNG/REUTERS/NewscomJIM YOUNG/REUTERS/NewscomEarlier this month, the Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR), a nonprofit advocacy group that "challenges concentrated economic and political power, and instead champions an approach in which ownership is broadly distributed, institutions are humanly scaled, and decision-making is accountable to communities," released research meant to push back against the spread of dollar stores, which the group argues are "targeting struggling urban neighborhoods and small towns."

Generally, dollar stores are mid-sized retails stores that sell "a wide range of inexpensive household goods."

The ILSR research focuses largely on the sale of what it deems substandard groceries by dollar stores, criticizes their spread as the cause and effect of economic malaise, and urges cities and towns "to check the[] spread" of dollar stores through local legislation. Steps the ILSR urges cities and towns to take include setting limits on chains, creating buffer zones around existing stores (of the sort food trucks have often endured in many cities), increasing red tape, and subsidizing locally owned groceries.

But the research makes several assumptions that don't stand up to scrutiny, writes Baylen Linnekin.

Photo Credit: JIM YOUNG/REUTERS/Newscom

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