The rise of chain retailers has changed the landscape in the industry. But, how exactly has that change impacted workers? It would be useful to know how it shifted factors like pay, benefits, and working conditions, for example. Now, one city gives us some data to consider. Amarillo, Texas has more locally owned businesses than it does chains. And, that allows us to examine how workers are treated and compensated in these environments.
Amarillo businesses by the numbers:
There are 6,279 stores in the city of Amarillo, according to the most recent census data, which was analyzed by The Amarillo Globe-News. An estimated two-thirds of those stores belong to companies with fewer than 20 total employees. That figure included the 2,743 small “mom-and-pop shops” that employ between one to four workers.
These rates constitute something of a small business boom for the city. The WT Enterprise Center, which was set up in the city to help individuals who want to go into business for themselves, told a local news channel that they’ve seen a surge in interest lately and that this is good news for the economy.
“When a company starts here, a primary business, one job will support … 2.5 jobs in the government, service and retail sectors of our economy,” David Terry, founder and director at the center, told NewsChannel10.
The small businesses offer better pay on average, but there is a trade off.
Small businesses in Amarillo, on average, offer better pay than larger ones do. The businesses in the city with between one to four employees earned more than any other group, $42,105.77 on average. Large retail chains offer more than 10,000 jobs in Amarillo, with an average salary of $21,101.56. This is significantly less than the aforementioned group, and it’s also much less than the average $33.482.52 earned by retail employees at stores with less than 500 workers. However, this data could be skewed by the fact that many part-time employees work at the chain stores.
There is another trade-off for workers employed in these smaller stores, though. Mainly, they shoulder a heavier responsibility than they would in a larger store and they’re expected to be more invested. Also, these workers often have to wear multiple hats and fulfill more varied roles within their organizations.
“I need someone who can immediately be available to me and be invested in the company,” Jessica Higgins, owner of Girasol Café & Bakery told The Amarillo Globe-News. “I put them under a lot (of responsibility) in here, so I offer this higher wage.”
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