What’s killing local businesses?

Local businesses are being killed off.  Storefronts are empty.  More and more main street looks like desolation row. Malls have become decaying relics.

Each local business that closes its doors decreases local shoppers desire to shop on main street. People like EXCITEMENT.  They like CHOICE.  But most of all people like other PEOPLE.

See other people shopping is what makes local shopping attractive.  When shoppers walk past an empty store or restaurant the overall local BRAND is diminished.  How bad is it – it is being called The Retail Apocalypse 2019.   


Empty Shopping Mall 2

Retail Apocalypse
The destruction of local businesses and communities

Sinéad Baker in the April 2019 Business Insider article writes that the retail apocalypse has claimed 6,000 US stores in 2019 so far, more than the number that shut down in all of 2018.

Local Towns

In the article Baker summarizes what is happening to local retail:

  • More store closings have been announced already this year than in all of 2018, according to new research.
  • A report from Coresight Research found the retail apocalypse to be continuing, with 5,994 store closings announced in the US this year compared with 5,864 in all of 2018.
  • Some retailers including Fred’s and Family Dollar are closing select stores in a bid to stay profitable, while chains like Payless have announced they are shuttering all of their stores.
  • One report predicted that 75,000 stores would close across North America by 2026 as reliance on e-commerce rises.

If you don’t know what is happening to local retail then you, like Rip Van Winkle, have been sleeping.  The Tech Giants and Retail Chains are culprits in the Retail Apocalypse, but the actual killers are the denial and ignorance of local business owners.

There is a well-worn saying, “What you don’t know won’t hurt you.”  The writer,  Margaret Atwood, has her contrary version of the saying which is, “Sometimes what you don’t know can hurt you very much.”


I am of the school that thinks ignorance is NOT bliss and that “what you don’t know can and will hurt you.”  There is NO BLISS to be found in ignorance.  Think about what you know now and how if you knew what you know now ten, fifteen, or twenty years ago the mistakes you could have avoided.

So, what’s killing off local businesses is first, foremost, and last – the ignorance and denial of local business owners.  The excuses for ignorance are that business owners are too busy to see what is happening – that is total and complete nonsense.  Denial is something else entirely.  Here’s a denial quote pretty much sums it up, “People don’t know very much.  They only think they know to make themselves feel better.”


It is the JOB of business owners to get their heads out of the “too busy” sand.  Time to stand up and see reality.  Denial is your head in the sand.

Head in Sand

This is reality – local businesses are getting killed off.  There is not one local business owner who is not afraid.  The massacre is not going to stop.  The killing isn’t an accident.

IGNORANCE #1:  Amazon earns $282.7 billion dollars a year in revenue, it controls over 50% of online sales, shoppers love shopping online, and Amazon makes it easier and easier to shop.  Think – one-day delivery.  Amazon is going after EVERY local business.


Every local business from the pizza joint to the local jeweler NEEDS to understand IGNORANCE #1.  Deny it and you have a death wish.  A person with a death wish is shown the danger and chooses to deny it.

IGNORANCE #2:  Amazon’s success is built around its customer list.  Amazon doesn’t advertise – Bezos thinks advertising is a waste of money.  Instead, Amazon communicates.  Shoppers are connected 24/7 and they LIKE, WANT, and DEMAND communication.  They HATE advertising.  Deny IGNORANCE #2 and you go from having a death wish to business suicide.

Too tough.  Nasty, Politically incorrect.  Nope.  It is reality.  Local business owners, if they intend to survive need to understand that it is their IGNORANCE and DENIAL that will cause them to fail.


Nobody wants to fail.  To keep from letting Amazon and the Retail Giants drive you to destruction local business owners need to Get Smart, Face Reality, and turn their on their passion to win.  It all starts with LEARNING.

Learning starts when you look around and see something you want to do and say to yourself, “I don’t know how to do it.  I don’t know how to get there.  I know if I don’t do it and get there BAD THINGS are going to happen.”

I know the older I get the more I realize how little I really know.  The good part of knowing you don’t know is that it means you are open to LEARNING.  For example, one of my favorite articles about marketing I found is titled, Amazon is building the world’s largest bird feeder.

The article argues that Amazon’s list is like a gigantic birdfeeder which Amazon uses to attract millions of different kinds of shoppers.  I learned from the article and begin thinking about local businesses and what they don’t know.

Here’s what local businesses both don’t know and if they know are in denial about.

Perhaps, the most ominous story of 2019 is that Amazon is making one-day delivery to its 105 million customer list. 

Local businesses may have heard about Amazon’s one-day delivery but are still in denial.  Here’s the unvarnished truth – what Amazon does ALL the retail giants will do.  Target just announced its one-day delivery service.   Here’s the point – expect Walmart to do the same.  Ditto for all the retail chains.  This news should be as shocking to a local business as having your doctor say, “You have cancer, heart disease, and PTSD but other than everything is good.”

Local business owners need to make sure they are NOT in denial about one-day delivery.  It means that Amazon, Target, Walmart and the Retail Chains WILL take away more of their customers.  These giants are focused on what today’s shoppers WANT.

Mary Meeker, the smartest coach, in the industry shows you how to win.

Mary Meeker

One person who KNOWS what shoppers want is Mary Meeker.  Meeker is the leading expert on the internet and each year she publishes her Internet Trends report.  The past sixteen years Meeker has presented her findings to the industry.  She has been and continues to be uncannily accurate.  She predicted the rise of Google and Amazon, the growth of Chinese technology, mobile, video, and gaming.  She is a business intellectual legend.  Local business owners should pay attention to what Meeker is telling them.

A quick summary of Meeker’s 2019 shopper trends:

“Amazon stunned analysts and industry watchers in 2014 when managers paid $970 million cash to buy Twitch. The three-year-old streaming site had only 55 million users at the time and catered mostly to people who watched others play video games. The fit with e-commerce escaped most observers. Gaming is the natural evolution of sport for a generation raised with PlayStation and Xbox consoles. It’s also a purely digital experience ripe for transformative business models built in the cloud. Researchers found that 69% of players made in-game purchases, spending an average of $84.67 per year and generate billions in revenues.”

  • Everything will migrate to the cloud. Cloud infrastructure is dominated by Amazon Web Services, Microsoft’s Azure, and Google Cloud.

Meeker concluded that Amazon, Microsoft, and Google will control the cloud and therefore the future.

“Amazon, Alphabet and Microsoft trade at 48x, 20x and 26x forward earnings, respectively. While that may seem expensive, the best part of their business expansion is still ahead as enterprises move more workloads to the cloud.”

IGNORANCE #3:  Any local business owner who doesn’t take the time to understand what Mary Meeker is saying has given up.  I know it sounds harsh but the TRUTH is often harsh.  I want local businesses and local communities to THRIVE.  I want them to see reality, swallow hard, and fight back.

Here are Meeker’s Insights for Local Businesses:

Understand shoppers need for social responsibility.  You’ve all seen the powerful Shriner’s commercials asking for monthly donations, ASPCA the same, ditto for Wounded Warriors – people genuinely care about others.  Shoppers care about local.  Local starts with local businesses working together.  In fact, The most powerful local business strategy is working together.


It would be simple to say the Tech and Retail Giants are killing local businesses.  It just wouldn’t be true.  The local business owner’s ignorance and denial are the two driving factors behind the death of local businesses.  If and when, local business owners realize they have the power to control their own destinies they will discover a MASSIVE opportunity.


The Rigged Retail Playing Field

Take a look at the chart of America’s monopolies and it is not difficult to understand the the issues facing local businesses – the playing field is rigged.

Emily Stewart writes, “From cellphone providers to beer to cat food, consumers have a lot fewer choices when it comes to buying — even if they don’t know it.” Emily Stewart and America’s monopolies

Stewart shows that the big companies have gotten bigger over the past fifteen years.

In the capitalist system that is what they are supposed to do.  However, local businesses have failed to see, no less understand, the threat the growing monopolies pose to their survival and success.There are 28 million local businesses in America.  The 2019 Department of Labor Statistics confirms what everyone instinctively already knows – local businesses are under threat.  The cause is clear – shoppers have shifted their buying to online and local businesses have not responded.  Amazon has 50% of e-commerce and grows stronger daily.  Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, ominously warned all local businesses, “Your margin is my opportunity.” Retail Business Failures

The bigger companies become the tighter control they place on wages, working conditions, and advancement.  Small local businesses NEED employees and focus on increased wages and advancement in order to grow their businesses.

The financial advantage goes to the bigger company.  The problem is then reflected in weak personal income growth because entrepreneurs are being pushed out of the game. The New Times review of the impact of monopolies

Stewart writes, “In more traditional sectors, such as hardware stores, tobacco, and railroads, concentration is on the rise. And in technology-related fields, including smartphones, social media, and cellphones, in just in the past five or so years, it’s even higher.”

Think of monopolies as movie studios that buy up scripts to keep them off the market.  The bigger a company becomes the more it needs to grow.  Growth comes from gobbling up competitors.

The #1 fact about monopolies is that as they take dominance in market share they use that power to drive up prices.The New York Times and how monopolies drive up prices.  Competitors drive down prices because their battle ground is efficiency and innovation.  Monopolies drive up prices because there is no battleground.  Steward writes, “The fewer options there are, the fewer places consumers have to shop for goods and services, and the less pressure for competitors to keep prices down.”

The big three monopolies are Amazon, Google and Facebook.

Let’s focus on Amazon which is earning an estimated $187 billion per year.   Jeff Bezos is brilliant and his team the best.  These top of the food chain capitalists have rigged the game. Amazon is smart and their focus is growing market share at the expense of every other business in the world.

Amazon’s retail strategy is to enter a business and use its technology and processes to make selling and delivery of products better, faster, and cheaper – AT FIRST.  Amazon uses lower prices to drive out competitors .  Once Amazon has market dominance it increases prices. This behavior is what monopolies do.

Consumers don’t care about monopolies and their impact on local businesses but they should.  Monopolies take money out of local communities.Money Stays in LocalThey have been convinced that convenience is important than choice.  A belief that will come back to haunt them as local communities become ghost towns where stacks of Amazon boxes on front porches.  Keep in mind that local communities need revenue to support schools, infrastructure, parks, trash pick, and all the other things that make local communities thrive and a place to live.

FACT: Amazon and the other monopolies take the financial lifeblood away from local communities.

Amazon wants to totally control local retail

Business Insider reports, Amazon accounts for 43% of US online retail sales.  An analysis by Slice Intelligence released found that 43% of all online retail sales in the US went through Amazon in 2016, as the e-commerce giant’s market share continues to grow.  According to the study, which analyzed more than 4 million online purchases, Amazon accounted for the majority (53%) of the growth in US e-commerce sales for the year.

Amazon is a great company and a great business and yet as great as it is, it is always dangerous and destructive.  The six million local retailers cannot compete with Amazon UNLESS they learn to compete in ways that Amazon cannot.

Amazon is convenient and impersonal.  Local businesses are convenient and personal.  The key is for local business to learn to use real-time coupons and direct-to-shopper communications.  This means enrolling in-store shoppers with direct communication tools of real-time email and text.

Google and Facebook control everything

Local media companies and local retailers are under attack from Google, Amazon, & Facebook.
•    Google and Facebook control 76% of digital advertising and 85% of each new dollar spent on digital.
•    Google controls 12% of all advertising revenues globally.
•    Amazon controls 41% of all online retail.   In 2016 Amazon[i] accounted for $0.51 of every $1 of growth in online retail and 24% of total retail growth.  Amazon, you already know.  Welcome to Facebook and Google’s “Buy Buttons”.
•    Google and Facebook control 67%[ii] of global mobile ad revenues[iii].
•    Newspaper dollars are off nearly two-thirds.  Ad spending will slide to $18.3 billion this year, down from $51.5 billion. They’ve been dropping for 10 straight years, quickly at first and now more gradually, though still at a pace of 8 or 9 percent per year.

A new forecast from ZenithOptimedia, the London agency, projects newspaper dollars will fall another 8 percent this year, to $18.3 billion. That’s down from a peak of $51.5 billion in 2006, meaning nearly two-thirds of all ad spending in the category has evaporated in just a decade.  What’s more, the declines will continue. By 2018, spending will have fallen to $15.1 billion, down 9 percent from 2017.
•    Traditional Program Viewing Sinks For TV Networks / 9,14, 2016 / MediaPost.  For the entire September to September TV season, broadcast networks showed more declines in traditional prime-time TV program ratings — with three of the four top channels losing ground.

G4’s technology platform connects dealers and other retailers to local media channels directly (that is, under full control of the dealer/retailer) and in real time (any changes made by the dealer/retailer show up on the local media or self-owned website instantaneously!).   Dealers/retailers now collaborate with local media at warp speed, creating value and immediacy to the local consumer that the Tech Giants simply cannot match.

A New Understanding of Dreams

Richard Corriere and his colleagues proposed in this research article A New Theory of Dreaming  use research findings and detailed analysis to argue that there is a simpler and more down-to-earth way of understanding dreams.

They credit their understanding to the anthropologist Kilton Stewart and his work with the primitive tribe in Malaysia, the Senoi.  Corriere and his colleagues Joseph Hart and Werner Karle explored anthropology studies on the Senoi because they were unhappy with the complexities and subjective nature of dream interpretation.

What is unique about the Senoi is how their understanding of dreams is dramatically different than the dream beliefs of the hostile tribes surrounding them.  The tribes surrounding the Senoi used shaman’s to interpret their dreams while the Senoi focused on how they acted in their dreams.

The Senoi teach DREAM SKILLS to their children.  These skills teach the Senoi childrento be powerful in their dreams, to speak with authority, call on friends for help and advice, and to make the dream give benefits, not only to the dreamer, but to the dreamer’s community.

Instead of asking what does this dream mean, the Senoi asked HOW were you, the dreamer, acting in the dream.  Were you strong?  Were you a leader?  Did you call on friends?  Corriere’s research found that when a dreamer was strong,  a leader, and able to connect with friends then the dream needed no interpretation.  The dream was lucid and clear in and of itself.

The question then became how to achieve in modern society the same dream results as the Senoi.  During a five year study Corriere and his colleagues found that by teaching life skills to subjects in waking, these skills were transferred to dreaming.

When a person learned in waking to speak up clearly, take leadership role, and ask for advice from friends, those same skills were reflected in their dreams.  Corriere and his team developed The Process Scoring System to measure how a dreamer was in his or her dreams.

Corriere’s ideas are defined in his three books on dreams:  The Dream Makers The Dream Makers, Dreaming and Waking Dreaming and Waking,  and the Functional Analysis of Dreams The Functional Analysis of Dreams.

This research and the training that goes with it has lead to a new understanding of dreams.  This understanding states it is not WHAT you dream about that is important but HOW you are in a dream that makes the dream important.



American Psychological Association

The American Psychological Association published a research article by Richard Corriere and his colleagues Werner Karle, Judy Klein and Joseph Hart entitled The Personal Orientation Inventory and the Eysenck Personality Inventory as outcome measures in a private outpatient clinic.  Journal Citation

Using standardize psychological tests the researchers found that time in therapy increased subjects extra-version scores and decreased their neuroticism scores. What is important about this study is that the increase in extra-version was driven by subjects learning new skills rather than undergoing traditional psychotherapy.  The authors argued that learning new is essential to one’s sense of well being.  Lack of skills is often displayed with inappropriate behaviors which are incorrectly diagnosed as various psychological problems.

Focusing on one’s problems eaves little room for self-improvement.  On the other hand, thinking of one self as a life athlete who can learn new skills opens up a world of growth and confidence.

Corriere’s ideas on bringing the idea of Psychological Fitness are found in his three books:  Life ZonesPsychological Fitness, Source French  and Going Sane. Each of the three books builds on the concept that few people are truly mentally disturbed and most people suffer because they lack basic life skills.  Skills which can be learned through practice.

Richard Corriere Research

The Mindful Manager


Ebony Magazine on Dreams

Ebony magazine’s article about the innovative dream research of Richard Corriere titled Change your Dreams and You Might Change Your Life  Source presented a new way a person can understand and use their dreams to help guide their life.

The Ebony article was based on the research article, Toward A New Theory of Dreaming which  explored the dream research of Richard Corriere as published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology.  Volume 33Issue 3pages 807–820July 1977

In the article Richard Corriere stated it more important to understand how a dreamer was in the dream vs. what the dream was about.  For example, was the dreamer active or passive in the dream.  It was found that if a dreamer was passive in the dream then the dream was often troubled, confusing, and upsetting.  On the other hand when the dream was active the dreams often had clear story lines, positive outcomes, and were perceived as pleasant.

Corriere’s ideas on dreams are defined in his three :  The Dream Makers The Dream Makers, Dreaming and Waking Dreaming and Waking,  and the Functional Analysis of Dreams The Functional Analysis of Dreams.






Performance is driven by: Clarity, Expression & Feelings

The research team of AR Mahrer, MV White, MT Howard reported in the Journal of  Psychotherapy in Private Practive Source found that the expression of feelings in a therapy session and direct confrontation of underlying increased client change events.

Their work contrary to the more passive model of traditional therapy suggest for change to occur the therapy sessions need to become a more active and expressive experience vs. a talk and insight driven one.

Their world added support to the learning of life skills as found in the published research of Corriere and his co-workers who developed the concept of Psychological Fitness and coaching methods for life.  Corriere and his colleagues went further by asking what model should direct the learning of life skills.  Their found that the inner reference of performing at one’s best was the ideal self-anchoring model.  Instead of focusing on what a person was doing wrong, the question could be asked by professional, peer or friend, “are you performing at y0ur best?”

This line of thinking supported the work of Abram Maslow, Anthropological Studies of the Senoi, and more recently the work of Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi.

The  classic work of Abram Maslow is built around his concept of self-actualization.  What most people do not understand about self-actualization is that it requires WORK.

Self-actualization is defined as “the realization or fulfillment of one’s talents and potentialities, especially considered as a drive or need present in everyone.” Citation  Maslow theorized that contrary to the current “pathology model” where a person’s job was to gain insight and overcome what was deficient it was far more beneficial to focus on moving a person forward to reach for his or her highest potential.

Maslow and Corriere’s work was later support by the “flow” research of  Mihaly CsikszentmihalyiFlow is the experience a person has when they master a skill and experience a positive self-reinforcing sense of performing a task effortless.

Finally the anthropological study of the Senoi of Malaysia found that the Senoi of a had a similar focus of taking action and increased expression in their dreams.  They learned dream skills to be their best in their dreams.

Each of these influences focus on a positive sense of self, self-directed living, and learning skills.  Feeling good was determined sense of well-being driven by competence.

BOOKS:  These research findings were later expanded in three books:  Psychological Fitness;  Going Sane; Life Zones.  These books argue that people who have developed life skills feel and perform better than those who do not possess the same skills.  When a person does not have basic life skills they manifest what traditional psychology refers to as symptoms.  Symptoms are directly reflective of a lack of skills.  What is troubling for a person is that given the same situation with the same skills they repeat unproductive behavior.  The good news is that with new life skills given the same situation they change their behavior and derive desired outcomes.

The Mindful Manager by Richard Corriere

Richard Corriere’s writing, articles, and research