Trade wars are not “easy to win”! As with other conflicts, collateral damage is hard to predict.
I am not an expert in the machinations of the global economy though I do know first hand what it is like to be in a business that is trying to run on an uneven playing field. Rather than being up against a foreign government and its policies, the Norwich Bookstore and other small retailers are challenged by our own local and federal support of big corporations.
When a discount chain or a mega-corporation comes to a region, they ask for tax breaks and other incentives. The big internet retailers were offered big breaks when they were startups 20+ years ago that they still enjoy. Those same businesses pay their employees so little and offer no benefits or flexibility that the workers must rely on other services that cost taxpayers, which is essentially another form of underwriting the business. Meanwhile, their CEO’s have huge salaries.
The bookstore pays a fair - though not high - wage. We wish it could be higher. Believe me when I say that the owners are not paid more than the workers! We pay property tax via our lease and collect Vermont sales tax. We also donate generously to many Upper Valley not-for-profit programs and organizations. We creatively foster the vitality of our region however we can.
There are many places and ways to shop. Please think of us and other local merchants first when you are looking to purchase books and gifts. Help level the playing field because we want to keep playing this crazy bookselling game! ~ Liza
(originally posted 4.19.18)