“Caledonia County retailers lose about $36 million a year in retail sales to businesses in neighboring New Hampshire,” a Northern Economic Consulting study showed for St. Johnsbury, VT (population 7,571). The town did the study to try to determine market opportunities that it might have and is a 180 degree change for a state that initially erected laws to keep big boxes out of the state. It is a strategy that backfired, one of those Law of Unintended Consequences that governments often pass with resulting horrible results.
Littleton, NH lives up to its name in size…it is almost has almost 2,000 less residents than St. Johnsbury, but it is a giant killer when it comes to retail sales. The big boxes located there when Vermont erected its Anti-Big Box Law and none have ever come back to St. Johnsbury. In the grocery category alone St. Johnsbury sells $2,025/resident compared to $3,500 in Littleton.
If you’re thinking of erecting barriers, I’d suggest a trip to VT to see the results.