business news in context, analysis with attitude

Regarding our stories and emails about the dollar store phenomenon, one MNB reader wrote:

I'll bet more than a few of my former Walmart brothers & sisters recognize the current dollar store strategy from how Mr. Sam started: small general merchandise stores in rural areas with a commitment to low costs… what's old is new again, eh?

On another subject, from MNB reader Mike Carter:

Your story on what P&G is doing with Tide Cleaners brought to mind something my twin daughters told me recently. They are freshmen at a medium size university. They live in separate dorms and both report that most of their friends are clueless about how to wash/dry their clothes using the machines conveniently located in their dorms. My girls find it funny since they were responsible for their own laundry growing up (thanks to training from my very smart wife). So P&G may be on to something about exposing these students to their products that they are likely unfamiliar with. Our campus does offer the Tide Cleaners service and it was promoted heavily prior to start of fall semester.

Responding to yesterday’s FaceTime piece about how both New York and Amazon lost control of the narrative in their HQ2 dispute, never bothering to tell the story the way it needed to be told, one MNB reader wrote:

You are absolutely right.   Communication and education up front may have saved this marriage.   They had to know that throwing around a $3B figure was going to cause some discontent.   The business lesson is that when there are limited resources, people need to understand the trade offs.  In this case, does the $3B in incentives reduce spending elsewhere?  Will it increase my taxes?  Or is it self funding?   Same thing when projects are prioritized at retail.  People need to know how leaders choose which projects are funded and whether other projects are dead or could be resurrected if certain conditions are met.

From MNB reader Tom Robbins:

Kevin, your comments are absolutely spot on. It seems quite incredible to me, that we have “leadership” that doesn’t take time to have thoughtful discussion before racing to the media/TV cameras for sound bites. Many New Yorkers were anticipating job opportunities.

MNB reader Howard Carr chimed in:

While I agree with everything you pointed out, we must all realize what Amazon was able to accomplish at the expense of every municipality that responded to their solicitation for the HQ2 facility.  Every state, city and town that responded gave up valuable insight and factual information relating to the willingness of communities to provide incentives that, most likely, had never before even been thought of, to lure a company like Amazon into their fold.

Now Amazon, a company who’s foundation is built on data, now has the most extensive database of financial incentives for corporate location and incentives available to private industry.  The question that needs to be asked now is, “What will they do with all this information and data?”  How will they use it to enhance their objectives?  Will they share this with the rest of corporate America, or will they commercialize to their benefit?

On the blame side of the argument, I believe we have yet to hear the REAL truth as to what made Amazon walk away after having vetted all these proposals. Having been a real estate professional for more than 50 years, I can tell you that when a political/municipality wants something, they make all the obstacles fall away very quickly.  Long Island City, with the Mayor’s support and the Governor’s backing, would have been able to overcome any obstacles and gotten the approvals needed to build the project.  One lonely dissenter on the committee would not have had the political strength to shut this deal down.  There is one glaring. If not many, other reasons.  The bigger questions is:  Will the public ever find out the truth about what really killed this deal?

KC's View: