Small Business Survives
It becomes more difficult for smaller retailers to acquire merchandise as vendors consolidate and competition grows. In the consumer electronics industry, independents have been complaining about backorders and shortages in the newest, most-wanted products as suppliers fill the pipelines for mass merchants first. Some have been successful in moving to smaller, innovative vendors just entering the marketplace. Others rely on their buying groups to help with product availability, while some have created stability by tying themselves closely to one major brand.
The changing demographics in America provide unlimited opportunities for retailers who reach out to underserved populations. Baby boomers headed for early retirements have different needs than the 57 million members of Generation Y born between 1981 and 1995 who will represent the largest U. S. consumer group ever. At the same time, Hispanic population is the largest minority in the country.
The trend toward communities working to actively protect themselves from the onslaught of new and bigger superstores has just begun to bear fruit. Fifty local Vermont country stores have just come together to combine their purchases from their distributors in hopes of keeping larger competitors from growing. Some communities have been successful in limiting the size of new stores.