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Amazon

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It seems every time you turn on the news, Amazon is expanding services again. Besides getting many  medium and large cities in the nation competing for the new Amazon Headquarters 2, we saw the big online commerce company buy brick and mortar Whole Foods. So where else is Amazon looking?

An article in Automotive News asks the question: "Could the Amazon of auto retail be Amazon itself?" Katie Burke, who wrote the story, joined Stateside to discuss Amazon’s future.

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Today was the deadline for cities to turn in proposals to lure Amazon’s second headquarters.

Cities around the nation have been putting together their bids.

Photograph of Downtown Detroit
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As you may know, Amazon is looking for another city in which to build a vast new headquarters that could mean billions in investment and up to 50,000 jobs.

Not surprisingly, just about every city wants that. But the place where it might make the most difference for the local economy is, of course, Detroit.

Dan Gilbert, the Quicken Loans czar who many regard as Detroit’s capitalist savior, is heading a task force that will submit a bid in the next two days to the giant mail order retailer. Mayor Mike Duggan would do just about anything to lure Amazon.

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Amazon plans to build another headquarters in North America. It's dropped a request for proposals, an RFP. That means the competition has begun – cities and states will be tripping over one another, trying to land this prize.

But Richard Shearer, a senior research associate and senior project manager with the Metropolitan Policy Program at the Brookings Institution, argues there’s a very good chance Amazon already knows where it wants to build this second headquarters, and that this is basically a faux competition.

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Last Thursday, commerce giant Amazon announced it would build a second corporate headquarters, known as Amazon HQ2, somewhere in North America. It's now up to metropolitan areas across the country to show they're the best option to meet the company's needs.

"It's going to set off an inter-state bidding war," said Chad Livengood, a senior reporter covering Detroit for Crain's Detroit Business.

Amazon
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Amazon, the huge online retailer that sells everything from cookbooks to caskets, plans to build a second huge headquarters somewhere in America, and Detroit wants it -- badly.

Sandy Baruah, the CEO of the Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce, is part of a team fighting to lure Amazon to the Motor City. Dan Gilbert, who for years has been buying up vast amounts of Detroit real estate, says he's also put together a second team to woo them.

Detroit Free Press columnist Rochelle Riley wrote that this could mean “the arrival of a company that could bring 50,000 jobs and a whole lot of hope to the Motor City.”

online commerce giants like Amazon are taking some of the blame for a retail slump at brick-and-mortar stores.
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Amazon is in the process of hiring full-time warehouse workers for its distribution center currently under construction in Livonia.

In the past year, Amazon announced plans to build two warehouses in metro Detroit: the Livonia facility, and another in Romulus.

online commerce giants like Amazon are taking some of the blame for a retail slump at brick-and-mortar stores.
Nicholas Eckhart / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Amazon is in the process of building two distribution centers in Michigan. The online retail magnate has received millions in state money as an incentive to build, and hire, in the Great Lakes state. Yet, researchers at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance suggest Amazon’s impact on the overall economy destroys more jobs than it ever creates.

Despite the fact that Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos briefly surpassed Bill Gates as the richest person in the world, Amazon has successfully landed over a billion dollars in subsidies from local governments, according to Stacy Mitchell, co-director of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR).

downtown Flint street
Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

On Monday,  the Flint City Council decided not to sign a 30-year contract with the Great Lakes Water Authority - at least, not yet. The GLWA is providing Flint's water for now, and it's also Detroit's water source. In the long run, the city could be on the hook for about $600,000 a month in additional if it doesn't sign it. The mayor wanted the deal, but the council didn't.

“Morning Edition” host Doug Tribou and senior political analyst Jack Lessenberry discuss what this means for the future of Flint water. 


Book Store with a "store closing" banner
(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

Amazon is planning to build its second distribution center in Romulus, partly with funds from a five million dollar state grant. The Michigan Strategic Fund board approved the grant Tuesday. 

Amazon had considered other locations in the Midwest and Canada as potential development sites, according to Josh Hundt, Vice President of Business Development Projects at the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, which oversees the Strategic Fund Board. The Michigan Business Development Program is the pot of money allocated by the state legislature where the funds will come from. 

Amazon
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Amazon's coming to Livonia, and it's bringing over 1,000 jobs.

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation tweeted out this news early Tuesday morning, saying Amazon plans to build a product fulfillment center in October 2017.

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Just a few short years ago, the future of independent bookstores looked bleak. First, they were undercut by big box stores like Barnes & Noble and Borders, which could often offer both lower prices and a greater selection. Then, Amazon arrived on the scene, upending the book-selling business with all the grace of a gorilla reorganizing a library.  

Today, Borders is gone, Barnes & Noble is downsizing, and independent bookstores?

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is defending its eGRID system against a critique by an analytics think tank.

Companies all across the U.S. use eGRID to calculate their own indirect carbon emissions based on how much electricity they use. And it's not uncommon to see a company brag about a) their transparency on emissions and b) their progress in reducing their indirect emissions to fight climate change. 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Starting Thursday, more online companies will add the Michigan sales tax to purchases made by Michigan customers.

Online retail giant Amazon is among the companies that will add the 6% tax to their bills.

Tom Scott with the Michigan Retailers Association says compelling online companies with a presence in Michigan to charge the sales tax is a matter of fairness.

An abandoned water tower in Fordlandia in Brazil.
Amit Evron / Wikipedia

It’s a little-known chapter in the history of the Ford Motor Company.

And all that’s left today are ruins and a ghost town deep in the Amazon rainforest.

Matt Anderson tells us the story of Henry Ford’s great “social and business experiment” nearly a century ago, in Brazil. He’s the curator of transportation for The Henry Ford Research Center.

A hundred years ago, the British and Dutch controlled the world’s rubber production. The rubber tree was native to the Amazon, and the English took seedlings from Brazil to Southeast Asia for mass production.

Open Books

It's finally summertime – time to relax on that lawn chair out in the sunshine and read a good book. 

Amazon.com has published its fourth annual list of the most well-read cities in America, and Ann Arbor is ranked sixth.

The ranking is determined by compiling sales data of all books, magazines, and newspapers,  published in print or online. 

At the top of the list is Alexandria, Virginia, followed by Miami, Florida and Knoxville, Tennessee. Ann Arbor is followed by other college towns, like Berkeley, California, and Cambridge, Massachusetts. 

Flickr/Sarah Sosiak

Michigan's Treasury Department says the state will lose about $242 million in tax revenue from Amazon and other online retailers.

States have trouble collecting sales taxes from sellers that don't have a physical presence within their borders. Amazon owns Grand-Haven-based audio book publisher Brilliance Audio, but Treasury spokesman Terry Stanton says Michigan considers it a separate entity.

An Ann Arbor-based consumer research firm says there’s been a shift in people’s online shopping habits. 

Ann Arbor-based ForeSee asked more than eight thousand online shoppers about their satisfaction levels with 40 of the nation’s top web retailers.   ForeSee released its 7th annual Holiday E-Retail Satisfaction Index today.