Trellus Co-founder and CEO Adam Haber recently appeared on the Mike LiPetri Show podcast to discuss financial topics as well as Trellus Same-Day Local Delivery. Trellus provides an alternative to Amazon so small businesses can be competitive in last-mile logistics. LiPetri is a former New York State Assemblyman and former Congressional Candidate from Long Island, a TEDx speaker, and author.
In this episode, Mike and Adam take a closer look at the Amazon effect on communities and the ramifications for not shopping locally.
Here’s an excerpt from the conversation:
Mike LiPetri: What are you up to at this moment?
Adam Haber: …I was head of economic development for The Town of Hempstead for two years. And I saw every politician say, “Shop local, shop local!” Both sides of the aisle. But consumers shop local because they’ll get it cheaper…or they’ll get it quicker.
When I was a lot younger, I used to work downtown and my wife would say, “Go to the mall and get a birthday gift, you daughter’s got a party.” And I’m exhausted. I don’t want to take an hour to go to the mall. Why can’t I push a button and have something come here? So I had the idea for this business [Trellus].
Amazon basically crushes small businesses, they’re hurting hard. The government bends over backwards to give them tax breaks… Why isn’t there a company that helps small businesses compete by providing logistics and tech support to get the goods and services from the local businesses within a certain region, same-day, a couple hours, so it gets there quicker? And nobody’s doing that — literally nobody’s doing that. And I spent about six months going door to door speaking to people in Nassau and Suffolk County. And I say, “Hey, we got a business here.” And I put a team together. …
Mike LiPetri: I think that’s fascinating. So many people obviously go to Amazon. …As a result of that, it’s going to have huge problems for our downtowns. Frankly, Long Island, too, as a whole. Because if you think about it, it’s the tax base. People don’t think about that…many of these small businesses, they have that tax base they provide for their localities, for the county, for the towns. If you lose those, you have nothing to make that up. Amazon’s not making that up.
Adam Haber: No, the money leaves the area when you shop on Amazon. I like to put things in very simple examples. I spend $1 at my local dry cleaner. That dry cleaner then goes to the auto shop that’s right there to get his car repaired, who then goes to the stationery store, who then buys a sandwich. That money pings around, that tax revenue stays local. There’s a multiplier effect. So for every dollar you spend, $1.50 is generated and then you do the math on what the taxes are for the sales tax for the state, the county, and the towns.
If I shop on Amazon, they do collect sales tax one time but that money goes to corporate headquarters. It doesn’t ping around. Your money gets sucked out. And the small business owner who’s shopping here doesn’t support small businesses.
And then what happens when these businesses go out? No one wants to live near empty storefronts… your home values go down and then it’s harder to collect money on real estate taxes. And it’s a snowballing effect… If you don’t shop local if you don’t support small businesses, it’s gonna hurt your home value, it’s gonna hurt your tax base, and affect the amount of taxes you pay. It’s a win-win-win. Trellus is one of the greatest things I’ve ever been involved in.
Mike LiPetri: Yeah, it must be so fulfilling. …You want a burgeoning, vibrant community that you live in. Everybody wants to be excited, where you can go here, go there, stop by local shops. …You want it around you and that’s what I think makes Long Island so unique, frankly, is what we have available from North Shore, South Shore, Nassau, Suffolk. …
Listen to the full interview below: