For Local Business, Keep Business Local
The General Assembly should make fast work of killing a proposal to allow vastly expanded sale of liquor by grocery and convenience stores.
The matter hasnt surfaced for years, and rightly so. Now, in the name of Maryland small business, it should be dispatched to the Bad Ideas Study Commission or wherever destructive proposals are sent to languish.
The battle pits the big chains against locally owned liquor stores, which argue that the Big Boys would squeeze them out of business and then squeeze more money out of consumers. Theyre no doubt right.
The chains frame it as a matter of freedom and choice for consumers. Theyre right, too, unfortunately.
We think that theres another element to choice here, one thats too frequently ignored. Were speaking here of choosing to protect our remaining locally owned establishments from liquor to love potions to loaves of bread from corporate conquest.
Look around. Its harder than ever to find businesses owned in Anne Arundel and Calvert counties. At busy intersections and shopping malls, you may never find a business that is not run out of Dallas, California or New Jersey. Thats why communities across America look the same now.
Call us old fashioned, but we see the proliferation of 7-Elevens, Wal-Marts and Safeways as anti-business and, dare we say, anti-American.
We back that up by saying that one version of the American Dream is to own your own business. Be in charge of whats sold, for how much and who works with you to help your business grow.
We would argue that small business built the best of America and gave communities independence and diversity.
Chains typically pay minimum wage, ship their profits far away and inflict us with dulling sameness. Small businesses keep their profits at home and support their communities, their churches and their local sports teams.
We hope such ideas havent gone out of date. They were revolutionary when Thomas Jefferson concluded that the best prescription for a strong republic was keeping its ownership in many hands rather than in the pockets of a few.
Well drink to that from our neighbors liquor store and preferably a beverage from a microbrewery or small vintner.