Local vs. Chain

From time to time I like to highlight local businesses in Anderson. I do this in part simply because I enjoy the food or services that they offer, but I also do this in order to encourage others to support local owners and employees. Since my office is in the downtown area of Anderson, I have a lot of opportunities to visit many of the local downtown offerings.

When given the opportunity to choose between local and chain, I most often choose to go local. For example, although I do enjoy Dunkin' Donunts, I prefer the freshly roasted coffee, atmosphere, and service of eCity Java. (Props to my friend Daniel and the others that work there!)

When comparing local vs. chain stores, we often assume that the chain stores drain the life out of local businesses--and this assumption is undoubtably true from time to time. Yet, in his article "In defense of Starbucks," Jonathan Weber suggests that the presence of national chain businesses such as Starbucks, may actually be a good thing. Weber writes:
When a Starbucks opened across the street from our offices in downtown Missoula, Mont., a few years ago, a lot of people in this liberal college town were not too pleased. The national behemoth would squeeze the local coffee shops, critics said, and contribute to the homogenization of Missoula....

....As the founder and publisher of NewWest.Net, whose largest competitor is a multibillion-dollar national newspaper chain, I've always been more than sympathetic to this argument. As a company, and as individuals, we're all about supporting locally owned businesses and the eclectic downtown commercial culture that goes with them.

But earlier this month we learned the Starbucks would be closing; it couldn't compete with the excellent alternatives. And I don't see that as a good thing.

Continue reading the article here.

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