retail news in context, analysis with attitude

As noted above, we got a lot of email yesterday about possibilities for Amazon’s second headquarters city.

One MNB reader wrote:

Assume they will be looking for a place where young Techies would want to live. That usually means some place with a robust college community and a social life that caters to the young. Amazon’s current HQ employees live state income tax free. Assume a state with a heavy income tax would be a penalty. Since GE fled CT because there is little to offer young tech folks and the tax burden was high ( than even Boston!). So Gov. Malloy should probably not bother. My bet would be the Boston area, North Carolina or the Austin TX area. Austin has the advantage of no state income taxes and a hip/cool/tech reputation. Love to hear other folk’s ideas.

From another reader:

I think Columbus, Ohio would be a great choice, many great companies got their start there…Wendy’s, Limited Brands, Cardinal Health to name a few, along with the support of The Ohio State University! Go Bucks!

And from MNB reader Stan Barrett:

Would love to see it in Virginia, maybe between Richmond and DC Metro area—one thing to keep in mind, it will have to be affordable, attractive to Millennials, and easy to reach via airport, have solid IT infrastructure in place.

A few candidates in VA doesn’t meet their needs:

Chattanooga, TN—major recent investment in IT infrastructure, off major highways—kind of near Nashville (another solid option)  mild climate year-round.

South Carolina—BMW has changed the face of Greenville, two decent major universities in Clemson and USC.

Birmingham, AL relatively near ATL, GA another possible candidate.

Baltimore—majorish metro area, near DC for lobbying, affordable (for now) housing.

Texas—rebuild Houston, contribute to the already strong IT community in Austin, etc.  Aggressive tax break.

Bottom line - it will come down to which area throws the most out to Amazon in tax breaks, investment credits.  Sure to be plenty of arguments to not support the richest man in the world, but think “local employees, local homes, local customers” for ancillary businesses. 

Will be fascinating to watch.


From another:

I have to believe that Amazon will be looking for a location that provides a highly educated workforce, younger the better (hey I’m old!), “hip” location desirable to live, good weather, good airport, business friendly, non-union, etc…
Uhhhh, it just so happens they are already flying in/out of the perfect city for them.  They are understanding this city, it’s workforce, demographics, culture, ease of doing business all while taking control of Whole Foods. Yep, Austin, TX.  Austin has a huge new tollway east of town that they would love to develop QUICKLY.  Amazon would solve the issue.


MNB reader Tom Murphy wrote:

Amazon already has a big operation in Vancouver…partially because of immigration constraints in the U.S.  You don’t think Jeff is throwing a dart at the President do you?




I also got a lot of email responding to my FaceTime commentary about Starbucks dumping its online store, which had the effect of cancelling my monthly subscription to its coffee … which doesn’t make sense to me.

MNB reader Ron Rash wrote:

It seems odd to me that a company that built a retail empire using a siren’s allure to bring the public to its ambience and sweet coffee drinks and free WiFI, would be so heavy handed as to try to force you to go to their store to purchase your coffee. That, or buy elsewhere on-line, or (gasp) change brands.

From another reader:

I am with you…bad strategy, bad customer experience!  Period!

MNB reader Steve Rash wrote:

I just finished watching today’s FaceTime.  If I were in the coffee business you’d be receiving two pounds of coffee from me tomorrow, along with a link to my site so you can set up a subscription.    The universe is sending you a message.  Maybe it’s time for a change.  Peet’s and Stumptown are way better than Starbucks.

MNB reader Mark Johnson wrote:

Regarding Starbucks shutting down their online store and suggesting you patronize other retailers.  I think you still have a wide-open opportunity to continue your loyal Starbucks purchases (including subscription) through any grocery storefront including online grocers.  In fact, it’s entirely possible that those very online grocers (first letter A and first letter W) may have had a hand in pressuring Starbucks to close their online commerce…..hmmmmmm.




Finally, I got the following email responding to a piece I wrote yesterday to answer observations one reader made about the decision to end the DACA program…

Thanks for the logical, sane comments on the immigration thing. Free pass? Those kids or their parents for that matter don’t get  free money (plenty of freeloaders born here!). Another thing overlooked is that the assumption is all of the “DACA” kids are via  Mexico from south of the border. Don’t know the % but some are from Europe, Middle East, etc.

Curiously, Trump went out of his way to say most are not “kids” but adults and young adults. But when Don Jr. got into the meeting trouble, he is a good “kid”- almost 40 by the way.

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