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Imagine you own a small, local business--maybe even a seasonal, cyclical kind of thing.

Maybe it's successful, maybe it's a struggle sometimes. But overall you've made it work.

Then, you wake up one morning to learn that the most successful retail company in the history of everything has decided to compete with you.

Uh oh.

That's what it could look like right now if you're in the Christmas tree business--growing them, running a nursery, or selling trees on city streets like in New York. Because Amazon announced in September it planned to sell trees with free delivery for Prime subscribers, and the first trees went on sale yesterday.

I mean, I'd be scared. But I'm also impressed by the attitude of the National Christmas Tree Association, a trade group that represents nearly 500 of those small tree sellers.

In short, their attitude is: "Bring it on." They say that if Amazon convinces more young people to buy live Christmas trees, as opposed to artificial ones, they hope it will actually be good for their members.

"Anything new you want to be cautious," the group's spokesperson, Doug Hundley, told me yesterday. "But we hope it will bring in more Millennials. If they get a real tree because Amazon's offering it, more power to them."

Here's what else I'm reading today:

When Apple changes its mind

In the last few weeks, Apple has drastically revised the number of new iPhones it expects to sell, especially the new lower-price iPhone XR. But manufacturing tens of millions of iPhones required a gigantic supply chain, and it's not the kind of thing you can easily stop on a dime. Result: frustration and disappointment among suppliers and workers who actually build the phones.

--Yoko Kubota, Takashi Mochizuki and Tripp Mickle, The Wall Street Journal

'Stop WALMART' (Love, Sen. Bernie Sanders)

A few months ago, Sen. Bernie Sanders introduced the Stop BEZOS Act in Congress, and a month later Amazon announced it was raising its internal minimum wage to $15 an hour. Next in his sights is Walmart, for which he just introduced a similarly acronymed bill--and just before the holiday season. It'll be interesting to see if Walmart follows Amazon's lead, or stands tough.

--Bill Murphy Jr., Inc.com

J.Crew's CEO is replaced by a team of four

It took just 16 months for the new-ish CEO of J. Crew to step down. Most interesting is what's replacing `CEO Jim Brett, who in turn replaced former CEO Mickey Drexler: a team of four senior executives who will share responsibilities as a team. It's an unusual leadership idea to be sure.

--Nathaniel Meyersohn, CNN

Forget Millennials, we want Boomers

Now here's a business plan that makes sense. Warby Parker announced it's teamed up with UnitedHealth, marking the first time the upstart eyeglasses brand will accept Medicare--which by definition means it's now targeting people 65 and older. It's a fact of life if you haven't experienced it yet: the older you are, the more likely you need glasses.

--Marianne Wilson, Chain Store Age

Pass the Tofurky (and the money)

It's been more than two decades since university freshmen who had decided in their first few months of college that they were vegetarians could demand that their parents cook Tofurky for Thanksgiving dinner. Now the once-small startup behind the vegetarian meal, which has never taken any investor funding, is competing with the likes of Impossible Burger, Memphis Meats, and Beyond Meat, which have a combined total funding of $479.6 million.

--Emily Canal, Inc.com

Published on: Nov 20, 2018
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