There are many ways that being a small business owner can be difficult, not the least of which is how to cope with changing marketplaces and an influx of competitors. For some mom-and-pop merchants in southern California and across the country, seeking help from local government to restrict where chain stores may and may not be located is floating around as a form of needed relief.
Proposals like these are predicated on similar zoning restrictions that have been implemented in cities such as San Francisco. These measures focus on where so-called “formula retail” businesses are allowed to operate, as well as proposing penalties for landlords who allow some properties to sit empty, or providing incentives for landlords who work to keep their properties full of non-formula retail establishments. Some iterations also include offering property taxes abatements to non-formula retail businesses, all in an effort to encourage small business to flourish in the face of what sometimes seems like overwhelming odds.
However, these kinds of proposals are often met with indifference by city planning officials, who may claim that it is not their business to say who can and who cannot open a business. Another issue that affects many communities is “warehousing,” a tactic that many landlords are often accused of utilizing. With warehousing, a landlord may intentionally hold many of his or her properties vacant in anticipation of the area increasing in popularity in the near future, and banking on the possibility of renting the spaces to more lucrative corporate clients.
These are only some of the issues that affect mom-and-pop businesses throughout the state and country, although some forward-thinking cities are proving open to passing ordinances that encourage small business to flourish. Even if these kinds of ordinances are passed, being a small business operator is an uphill climb. If you are a small business owner and operator building your team, you should almost certainly include securing an experienced commercial real estate attorney who can help you avoid contract and lease issues before they arise.
Source: The Gothamist, “Small Businesses Beg City For Help In Face Of Chain Store ‘Tsunami’,” Gabby Del Valle, accessed Oct. 25, 2016