Restaurant Failures – Factors Linked to Business Closings

To help existing and prospective restaurant operators and guide the development of the downtown dining and entertainment sector, it is important to understand why restaurants fail. An article in the Cornell Hotel and Restaurant Administration Quarterly, “Why Restaurants Fail” (Parsa et al.)* examines research on why restaurants go out of business. Information from this article, including failure rates and factors linked to those business closings, are summarized here.

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Role of Cooperatives in Community Economic Development

Community economic development (CED) practitioners have many tools in their toolbox. Cooperatives are another tool to address complex rural and urban needs Cooperatives can help retain or recapture community control of development by mobilizing multiple residents. Cooperatives are a means to obtain a “critical mass” of local resources and provide community goods and services. Cooperatives also build democratic leadership grounded in the local community and distribut profits equitably among members.

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The Downtown Coffee House Business

According to the National Coffee Association, Americans consume 400 million cups of coffee per day, making the United States the leading consumer of coffee in the world. Seventy-seven percent of adults in the country drink coffee on a daily basis; with average consumption among those adults being three cups per day. This issue of Downtown Economics examines the growing market for downtown coffee houses

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Ten Realistic Retail Themes for a Vibrant Downtown

Based on market analysis findings from many communities, coupled with business examples being submitted to the University of Wisconsin- Extensin’s Innovative Downtown Business online clearinghouse, ten broad catgories of retail are emerging as “good fits” for downtown. These can include both chains and independents and should be considered when a community develops its business expansion and recruitment wish list.

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Creating a Vibrant (and Realistic) Retail Mix

Small city downtowns no longer have the traditional department stores that once anchored “main street.” Long gone are the days when downtown was the one-stop shopping center for the community. Further, in today’s competitive retail market, many chains continue to bypass downtown in their site selection efforts. Yet too often there is a disconnect between the types of retail local residents want downtown and what is realistic. Often small city downtowns are “stuck in a rut” in their recruitment efforts. So what types of retailers are truly bringing people back down to “main street” and how can a community develop a realistic business expansion and recruitment plan? This article answers these questions through a comprehensive market analysis and in the innovative business ideas that are actually operating in other downtowns.

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The Local Costs and Benefits of Wal-Mart

What are the local costs and benefits of a Wal*Mart store opening up in a community and how are they distributed across the different groups in the community? To consider this question, Ohio State University researchers Elena G. Irwin and Jill Clark, have reviewed the recent academic literature on this topic. This article summarizes some of these findings and their implications for consumers, workers, other businesses and the public sector.

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Innovative Downtown Businesses

There is hope for increasing business activity and bringing people back downtown. A number of vibrant communities have retained and increased retail activity in their central business districts by focusing on unique and innovative businesses. These vibrant downtowns often have a number of retail and service establishments that are able to successfully co-exist with the retail giants by building on their downtown’s unique sense of place and by offering products and services not found in the big box stores. The Innovative Downtown Business clearing house maintained by UW-Extension CCED can be found at http://fyi.extension.wisc.edu/innovativedowntownbusinesses/

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Wal-Mart Unveils Community Store Design Strategy

Big box retailers such as Wal-Mart and Target have inundated the retail sector in recent years. In fact, a Multi-Market Study performed by Scarborough Research found that “more than four in five U.S. adults over the age of 18 shop at Wal-Mart, Target or both,” representing shoppers from every income level and demographic group.

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Seven Components of a Successful Business Incubator

Business incubators are facilities that provide small,entrepreneurial businesses with affordable space, shared support and business development services. They can help young businesses during their start-up period when
they are most financially vulnerable. While not a panacea for a community’s economic struggles, incubators can
provide a boost to small business and promote entrepreneurship. The following are seven components of a successful incubator from Colin Barrow’s Incubators: A Realist’s Guide to the World’s New Business Accelerators.

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