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Local businesses benefit economy, study says

BY Brae Canlen

A study conducted by national research firm Civic Economics indicates that independent retailers return 52% of their revenue to the local economy, compared with 14% by national chains. The conclusions were based on data collected in 2011 in Salt Lake Valley, Utah, where 15 retailers and seven restaurants, all independent and locally owned, participated in the survey.

For comparison purposes, Civic Economics analyzed annual reports for four major national chains: Barnes & Noble, Home Depot, Office Max and Target. In addition, researchers analyzed reports for three national restaurant chains Darden, McDonald’s and P.F. Chang’s.

The study was promoted at a Salt Lake City press conference on Aug. 15 promoting local businesses. As reported in the Salt Lake Tribune, the event got a boost from former President Bill Clinton, whose visiting entourage ordered take-out food from a local restaurant named the Red Iguana.

According to Civic Economics, chain stores and restaurants extract locally generated revenue from the community with each nightly bank transaction, while independents create a cycle of local spending.

The extra dollars in local communities produce more jobs, extra tax revenue, more investment in commercial and residential districts, and enhanced support for local nonprofits, the report said.

Daniel Houston, a partner at Civic Economics, told the newspaper that similar studies in Chicago; San Francisco; New Orleans; Phoenix; and Grand Rapids, Mich., by the national research group shows that shopping locally can keep at least three times more revenue in local economies.

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Green flooring adhesive offers versatility

BY Ken Clark

Norfolk, Neb.-based MP Global Products, a manufacturer of fiber acoustic underlayments, introduced VersaStick premium "green" pressure sensitive flooring adhesive.

The no-VOC product works with luxury vinyl tile/plank and multi-ply engineered plank hardwood flooring over approved substrates.

Described as a "universal adhesive,” VersaStick enables contractors and builders to limit SKUs needed for multiple types of flooring installation. It spreads easily and has high initial tack and superior shear strength. Flooring may be installed up to 16 hours after initial drying if the area remains dust and dirt free.

The product is also made in the USA and will not harden in the container after opened and exposed to the atmosphere, the company said. 

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Home Depot testing new installed services model

BY Brae Canlen

Home Depot is piloting different versions of a contractor-homeowner referral service in four different markets after quietly acquiring Redbeacon.com last January, according to an article in the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

Redbeacon.com’s matchmaking service, similar to Angie’s List except that it’s free to consumers, does background checks on plumbers, electricians and other pros who join up. Consumers post the details of their home improvement jobs, and Redbeacon sends the names of three potential service providers. Homeowners then deal directly with the contractors, although Home Depot stands behind their work.

Home Depot, which declined to comment for this article, is tweaking the arrangement in four test markets: Atlanta; San Francisco; Dallas; and Austin, Texas. Variations involve ways of getting contractors to participate, and more importantly, shop for supplies at Home Depot stores. One pilot uses a point reward system, while another charges a flat monthly fee of $19.99 to be part of the referral network.

"Our hope, plan, desire is that they’ll be more loyal to Home Depot in terms of shopping there," Anthony Rodio, Redbeacon’s CEO, told the newspaper. "We want to drive pro loyalty through giving them their next job."

Redbeacon.com shows no affiliation with Home Depot on its website, although its Atlanta parent company plans to make the service more visible through advertisements and in-store promotions, according to the article.

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