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Amazon: Before You Click, Think About the Impact

As I write this in mid-December, San Francisco is enduring Amazon’s latest experiment. There are billboards surrounding the City advertising one-hour delivery. Gone are the many big green trucks of last year’s attempt to deliver fresh groceries. Now we see many little white vans with the Amazon “frown” on the side. They are busy trying to live up to Amazon’s latest delivery promise. And I have to admit, they seem to be doing a pretty good job. But before you click, think about the impact on local businesses and our local economy. Your choice matters. Thanks to the research done by our friends at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance ( I can present the following information to you:

Jobs. Amazon creates less than half as many jobs as local businesses do. For every $10 million in sales, Amazon employs just 19 people. In contrast, independent retailers create 47 jobs for that same $10 million.

Taxes. Yes, Amazon is finally collecting sales tax in California. But in addition to sales taxes, local businesses pay property taxes and other local fees for storefront locations, which is money that recirculates in our local economy and contributes to our collective well-being.

Local Economy. Remember, every dime you spend with Amazon benefits their shareholders and Seattle where they are headquartered. That’s cool perhaps if you have relatives or friends who live there. Otherwise, remember that local businesses feed and support your local community. We hire locally and have local supply chains where we purchase goods and services. Frankly, about half of every dollar we reap in sales is plowed back into the local
community one way or another.

Community. Amazon contributes nothing to our local nonprofit organizations and schools. Studies show that locally owned businesses give almost twice as much to the local community as big businesses in general. I know the depth of COLE HARDWARE’s support and involvement in our local communities. And I know of many other local businesses that are equally involved. Your local retailers know you are going to shop Amazon. But think about the impact before youclick. If San Francisco consumer spending shifted just 10%, San Francisco retailers would create nearly 1,300 jobs and pump more than $190 million into our community, and imagine those numbers applied to Oakland and the greater Bay Area. (Don’t take my word for it. Check out the study at So, what’s the message? If you click 10% less and move those purchases to your favorite locally owned stores, our community will benefit immensely: you’ll help create jobs and keep our neighborhoods vibrant. Resist the urge to shop Amazon. Think about it before you click. – Rick