Why Does Retail Work in Other Countries?

I worked in retail during the height of the 70s and 80s when people had no choice but to make their purchases in stores. What a concept! The large department stores gave way to chains that took a piece of the market share, and the smaller stores suffered over time. Except for the small stores, all these big stores are publicly traded, giving them cash to play with while appeasing the stockholders, not necessarily the store shoppers.

How do small business owners survive when they have to abide by the rules set forth by lobbyists? In other countries, you can be creative. You can open a natural wine store with savory products from cheese, crackers, kinds of vinegar, olive oils, olives, and sweets from chocolates to cakes. If you don’t have suitable serving utensils or napkins, you can pick that up there too. It is fantastic for the neighborhood.

During Covid, many of these absurd restrictions were loosened so restaurants could sell wines and other products. It was fantastic. But that was short-lived. If you are opening a new store, why can’t you carry what you want? Why can’t someone open a new cannabis shop with cutting-edge merchandise, a coffee bar, the latest food products, furniture, and perhaps a small restaurant where people can partake in a puff?

Undoubtedly, the consumer would be thrilled with the ability to explore and enjoy new retail concepts vs. buying everything from the sanctuary of their computer screen. What will it take for us to rethink the lobbying efforts that have escalated over the past thirty years to benefit the people paying them vs. the consumers in this country?

Why do we allow innovation to be handcuffed?