A new coalition of U.S. independent businesses launched on April 6 to urge policymakers to rein in monopoly power and level the playing field that has long left them at a competitive disadvantage. For the first time, small and independent businesses are adding their voices to the growing chorus calling for changes to U.S. federal policies that have allowed  monopolies like Amazon to amass outsized power and influence.

Called “Small Business Rising,” the coalition includes a broad and diverse cross-section of businesses owners and entrepreneurs from across the U.S. who are united around a common goal: breaking up monopoly power to safeguard the right of small businesses to compete and serve the needs of their communities.

“Concentrated market power is the single biggest threat facing independent businesses,” said Stacy Mitchell, Co-Director of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance. “Every day, we lose more small businesses because of the abusive and anti-competitive tactics of Amazon and other monopolies. This campaign gives America’s entrepreneurs a platform to stand up and call on policymakers to check monopoly power and reinvigorate the antitrust laws.”

Small Business Rising is a joint campaign of more than 20 independent business organizations representing more than 60,000 independent businesses owners across the country, including the Independent Office Products and Furniture Dealers Association (IOPFDA), the American Booksellers Association, American Independent Business Alliance, Main Street Alliance, National Grocers Association, and many others (a complete list is here). The Institute for Local Self-Reliance helped convene the coalition and is a member of it.

Small Business Rising is asking policymakers to build an economy that is more prosperous, equitable, and innovative by leveling the playing field. The campaign is calling on policymakers to:

  • Stop tech monopolies, such as Amazon, from cornering the online market by breaking them up and regulating them.
  • Block dominant corporations from engaging in abusive tactics by making the antitrust laws stronger and easier to enforce.
  • Outlaw mega-mergers and set a higher bar for allowing other mergers.

“Small businesses are uniting to say enough is enough to the anti-competitive tactics of large corporations who have been squeezing small businesses across every sector and every level. From the supply chain to the final sale, monopolies are dominating the marketplace, and divesting from our communities,” said Didier Trinh, Government Affairs Director of the Main Street Alliance. “Small businesses, including Main Street Alliance members, are uniting across industries to sound the warning bells, and provide solutions that can put us on a path to a more resilient and equitable economy.”

“Never before has the lifeline of a small retailer felt so tenuous, especially with Amazon’s growing dominance,” said Natasha Amott, owner of Whisk kitchen supply store in New York. “Let’s make no mistake, it is time for small businesses to unite to make our voices heard and call on policymakers to revive antitrust laws with vigor.”

Earlier this year, these organizations collaborated on a joint letter to President Biden urging the Administration to prioritize antitrust efforts, and they hosted a lively antimonopoly town hall that featured Rep. David Cicilline and drew nearly 400 business owners. Small Business Rising will build on this momentum. By telling their stories, independent businesses will help policymakers understand how failed antitrust policies are harming their industries and communities, and the urgent need for policymakers to act.

Source: ILSR