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Old 07-13-2009, 01:37 PM
 
Location: Austin
2,522 posts, read 6,013,585 times
Reputation: 707

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Reason I say that is that is what "Keep Austin Weird" meant...just another way of saying "Keep Business Local"......

Excerpt from their website(Organization that created the slogan)....

"The real problem with this turn of events is that it points out the boring irony of the entire "movement" (to use a grandiose term). It was a small attempt to counter Austin's descent into rampant commercialism and over-development. Absolutely Austin getting the trademark rather than letting this chicken run free is a sad proof that commercialism is winning. Most people probably think of Keep Austin Weird as a marketing slogan rather than our original attempt to highlight those aspects of our town that are really weird. Making money isn't high on that list. And they are enforcing the trademark, getting desist orders to folks who were making T-shirts."

So, long story short...when I moved to Austin, I saw FAR more big-box/major national franchise representation than would be expected from an area that "protects" small business....I thought I'd see seas of little botique shops, unique this-and that, all over......I just saw wads of franchises everywhere, especially on frontage interstates, and few neighborhood centers where you WOULD see such things......is it a lack of neighborhood shopping areas? Too much of a car centered-culture? Too many new people that EXPECT franchises?

All I can say is I see fewer small business here as a percentage of the whole than anyplace I've ever lived......

Is it just me, or does anyone else notice it? And if not, where are the "teaming" centers of local buiness?....all I see is big-box, mega strip mall..national franchises for days......


BTW, here is the original organization's "website"...

http://www.keepaustinweird.com/home.html


Something to think about, for sure......
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Old 07-13-2009, 02:53 PM
 
Location: Central Texas
13,715 posts, read 31,003,144 times
Reputation: 9270
This is a good issue.

For all my 25+ years in the Austin area I have heard that Austin has ALWAYS been a hassle for small businesses. The permit processes, the red tape, etc. have always been heavy handed and intrusive. It didn't matter whether you were opening a restaurant or a store.

I am not a entrepeneur so I have no personal experience to speak of. But builders and other business people all have complained how hard Austin makes it to do business in the city limits.

So my take is that Austin has never been friendly to small business and it is getting worse.
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Old 07-13-2009, 04:33 PM
 
Location: Austin, TX
16,787 posts, read 48,827,038 times
Reputation: 9477
I have to agree regarding the permitting process. It is excessively onerous for small projects.

I recently had to permit the enclosure of an existing deck on my house to convert it to a sunroom and construction of a smaller deck next to it. I had to spend 30-40 hours preparing and submitting drawings that no one in the permit process wanted to look at or comment on, before the permit was issued. All they really cared about was the impervious cover limits, which I complied with.

During the preliminary construction the permit inspector did not want to look at the drawings or make any progress inspections until it was completely built. When the construction was complete, at the Final inspection he advises me of $1,200 worth of modifications he insisted on before I could get the final inspection approved. It would have taken them all of 10 minutes looking at the drawings before I started construction to tell me about those requirements ahead of time, so I could have built it right the first time.
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Old 07-13-2009, 04:44 PM
 
Location: Austin, TX
16,787 posts, read 48,827,038 times
Reputation: 9477
I do think it is important to support small local businesses. They can often give you better prices because they don't have the enormous overhead of advertising and franchise costs of the larger chains, and they are usually much more concerned about their business reputation in the community.

Word of mouth from satisfied customers is really important in finding these businesses.

I recently changed my HVAC business over from a company that was bought up by a large nationally owned chain. I found repeatedly when I did business with them that they began trying to sell me things I did not need and the prices they charged were much higher then I could get from smaller locally owned companies. My annual HVAC maintenance and inspections now cost me half of what I was paying previously.
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Old 07-13-2009, 05:29 PM
 
Location: Austin
2,522 posts, read 6,013,585 times
Reputation: 707
Quote:
Originally Posted by CptnRn View Post
I do think it is important to support small local businesses. They can often give you better prices because they don't have the enormous overhead of advertising and franchise costs of the larger chains, and they are usually much more concerned about their business reputation in the community.

Word of mouth from satisfied customers is really important in finding these businesses.

I recently changed my HVAC business over from a company that was bought up by a large nationally owned chain. I found repeatedly when I did business with them that they began trying to sell me things I did not need and the prices they charged were much higher then I could get from smaller locally owned companies. My annual HVAC maintenance and inspections now cost me half of what I was paying previously.
Couple more thingies about local biz....they usually are far more inclined to sponsor local teams(sports), and give to local charities....Big-Box stores will not even allow local charities to busk for money in front...only Walgreens does, to my knowledge....and NONE give to local charities like the local places......local business is more likely to hire and maintain local residents....local business is more likely to BE local residents.....

Finally, local biz keeps money IN the community..to recirculate back to your pocket and MORE local businesses....

It's a win for us all...support your local biz!
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