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The Small-Mart Revolution: How Local Businesses Are Beating the Global Competition

3.80  ·  Rating details ·  150 ratings  ·  27 reviews
Defenders of globalization, free markets, and free trade insist there's no alternative to mega-stores like Wal-Mart -- Michael Shuman begs to differ. In "The Small-Mart Revolution, Shuman makes a compelling case for his alternative business model, one in which communities reap the benefits of "going local" in four key spending categories: goods, services, energy, and finan ...more
Paperback, 285 pages
Published August 1st 2007 by Berrett-Koehler Publishers (first published June 19th 2006)
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Oct 23, 2008 rated it really liked it
Favorite quotes:

Sustainability requires that every community meet the needs of all its members (including plants and animals), present and future, without compromising the needs of other communities meeting the needs of their members, present and future.

Over the next sixty seconds Americans collectively will spend about $23 million. Every one of these dollars carries enormous power because every purchase is essentially a vote. It's a vote for a retailer, a vote for the local firms that supply t
Oct 02, 2009 rated it did not like it
I ended up skimming the majority of this book, so my review is admittedly not fully informed.

This is NOT a book for the average consumer and not what I expected. I learned what LOIS and TINA stand for, and a few examples of how locally-owned businesses are competing against global "big box" giant corporations, but ultimately most of the book's content was steeped in dense business and economic development terminology. The book would probably be much more relevant to students of business, econom
Dave Rothacker
Mar 11, 2014 rated it really liked it
I am always trying to learn more about economics. Michael talks about a community exporting three or four items and then importing the same from other countries. Even someone with limited economic knowledge like myself, knows this doesn't make sense. Michael delves into other examples like this and it's why I find the book interesting.

What I think the book illustrates, although doesn't neon sign, is the more emphasis that is placed on local living, the more natural and organic the business colla
Elanna Erhardt
Jul 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shuman combines history, economics, and politics to give a striking view of main street businesses in the United States. The information is clear, detailed, and well grounded. Though I noticed it is missing a view of racial equity. In some chapters, absences of race disparities are fairly easy to spot. So I will be doing research to fill in the gaps.
Independence has long ceased to be the American credo, supplanted by another: efficiency. Throughout the 20th century, small businesses supporting towns and families were devoured by larger firms, big businesses who gave little back to the communities they colonized other than an infrastructure burden and a handful of jobs. But Michael Shuman holds that it ain't over yet, and in The Small-Mart Revolution this entrepreneur argues that the titans have achilles' heels and citizens still have a choi ...more
Dec 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I became familiar with Michael Shuman via Youtube where, upon looking for videos regarding community development, I found recordings of some of his public speaking engagements. Shuman is a lawyer, an economist, and a business owner. He synthesizes his knowledge throughout this text.

This was a really good little book. The book seemed less to do with "how local businesses are beating the global competition" and more to do with expounding reasons and examples of why it's paramount to support local
Jun 20, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: own, sag-program
In The Small-Mart Revolution, we see the battle between TINA and LOIS play out in the pages, with Shuman showing us why LOIS wins. No, these aren't two broads in a fist-fight; it's a battle between a conventional economy built around big business and the logic that "there is no alternative" (TINA) versus the viable alternative of "local ownership and import substitution" (LOIS) that is gaining acceptance.

The introduction of this book in which Shuman tackles the idea of "Small-Mart" against the
Feb 24, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
This book is difficult not because of the writing style or the material, but because the solutions provided are nearly all long-term and require cooperation. Does he not get that we are Americans and therefore require easy, immediate, individual solutions?

I say thing tongue in cheek, but truthfully this was a stumbling block for me, and probably for others. He doesn't waste time pointing this out, which is both a compliment to us and a disservice to the wider acceptance of his book.

That said,
Mar 19, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I really liked this book, though you have to be pretty excited about the economy to get in to it. It moved right past Walmart bashing (some of the first chapter) and argued for keeping as much business and production local and the advantages of keeping money circulating locally. He outlines how he thinks that is possible and then branches out to cover all different kinds of business models, investors and even the global economy. He doesn't say that everything should be local, but does show how s ...more
Dec 31, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, 2008
The author argues that, in this age of conglomeration, not only is it not inevitable that nonlocal chain businesses will rule the world but that it's actually not good for local communities to be reliant on them (e.g., the eggs-in-a-basket problem, when a nonlocal, typically large, company dominating the business landscape in a community decides to leave, despite the huge investments sunk into persuading the business to come and the tax and other incentives the community has been throwing at thi ...more
Dec 04, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: everyone
the author goes into the TRUE cost of savings through concrete examples and a good deal of citations. He reasons why it is better to choose local retailers over big box, while at the same time doesn't cry for blind localism.

Anyone interested in community development should read this book, which is pretty much everyone, because right now, I definitely believe that a majority of the ideas presented in this book should be taken up by as many people as possible (globally).

There are also bullet poin
Jan 21, 2014 rated it liked it
Don't let my 3 star rating mislead you...this was a great book, well written and very well researched by an innovative mover and was just a bit clunky, each chapter in the second half was focused for a different audience so I was wading through economic talk for global leaders and politicians when what I was looking for was individual talk. It was good for me though to get a good, clear, rounded picture and so I read it all. Very thoughtful discussion with plenty of resources. I'd su ...more
Tom Randell
So this is the book that introduced me to Michael Shuman. Start with this book and feel the warmth that grows from learning your friends and neighbors can still succeed against massive corporations. then read his next two books and feel emboldened to go out and make things happen.

Three books later and Michael's input is still current, engaging and absorbable. What I have learned by interacting with Michael's books is that he doesn't just care, doesn't just believe but he has the data, the exampl
Charise D.
Mar 30, 2010 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: people interested in buying local, small-town entrepreneurs and policy-makers.
I agreed with this book, but I think I would have appreciated it more if I were a policy-maker or owned my own business; definitely recommended for either. I may re-read it in the future when I do have my own business. On the other hand, it does include some good information for those who are uncertain about whether it matters to shop locally, and helpful lists for things like how to prioritize your local shopping.
Boku Kodama
Apr 08, 2008 rated it really liked it
Walmart and the other national chains are depleting our local economies and making our lives more expensive to live. This is a great book about how we can fight these multinational bloodsuckers from draining our local resources through the development of small, locally-owned businesses that retain the vast majority of their revenues where they live and work.
Wendy Welch
Nov 26, 2008 rated it liked it
It was pretty good, but suffered from dissertation-itis. I like his concepts a lot, and was really tempted to mail a copy to our county economic development officer. They keep trying to get an industry in here like it will solve all our problems.
Mar 16, 2009 rated it liked it
I expected to like this book more than I actually did, but it's still worth a read. And a month after finishing it the concepts are still with me. It has effected some of my decision and gotten me thinking a lot more about the local economy. ...more
Mike Moskos
Nov 04, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: book
Lots of ideas for localizing business transactions to generate those "jobs" politicians--operating solely under a tired model of subsidizing only huge businesses--fail to deliver.

I must admit that I was far more inspired by hearing him in person though than I was by the book.
Good book on the importance of local purchasing dollars vs Walmart and other bigger companies. Definitely impacted my purchasing decisions. Too many stats to keep my interest on some areas for pleasure reading though.
This book is a good overview of buying & living locally. Some chapters are more reference-y than others; it's not likely that every person will find every chapter equally useful. However, it's a good read if you want to start-- or extend-- spending your money in your community. ...more
Tyra Masters-heinrichs
This book should be required reading for anyone in high school and anyone thinking about going into business.
Dec 06, 2007 rated it really liked it
For more analysis and tips for taking action in your community, see ...more
Oct 24, 2009 is currently reading it
Let's start a revolution!! ...more
Feb 05, 2011 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Put this book down, it was too depressing for me, at least right now, maybe again another time.
Erica Olson
Aug 27, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Please read this book for all the right reasons. I reviewed it for another online site.
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Derek Lewis
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Aug 12, 2013
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Jun 15, 2012
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