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View Poll Results: Two part question - Answer each part without looking at your neighbor's paper.
Part 1 - Would you be more or less likely to visit a tourist destination if it had no chains and all local businesses? 5 14.71%
Much more likely 10 29.41%
A little more likely 6 17.65%
Wouldn't make a difference 15 44.12%
A little less likely 2 5.88%
A lot less likely 0 0%
Part 2 - In the long run, would banning national chains help or hurt a local economy? 5 14.71%
It would help a lot 3 8.82%
It would help a little 3 8.82%
It wouldn't make a difference 6 17.65%
It would hurt a little 9 26.47%
It would hurt a lot 8 23.53%
Part 3 Bonus Question - Would you rather know how to play a trombone or a french horn? 4 11.76%
Trombone 14 41.18%
French Horn 7 20.59%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 34. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 04-13-2013, 10:53 AM  
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Banning Chain Stores - Should A City Do It?

I was in a tourist-type town this week on business, and I have a general policy. I won't spend my money in a chain restaurant. It really annoys me for some reason to go into a resort town and see a bunch of Bubba Gump restaurants or chain steakhouses or Chili's or Starbucks. Yeah, that's why people go on vacation, so they can eat at the same restaurant that's a mile from their house.

So anyway, I generally try to support small business, and I'll always take a local restaurant over a chain if possible. To be honest, my practice isn't as good with hotels because the quality difference is often large, but I'll always go for the local restaurant if I can.

But I really wonder about the impact of chains on local communities. Whether it's a hotel or a restaurant or a Wal-Mart or a Trader Joe's, local people spend their money there and the profit immediately gets on a stagecoach out of town to corporate heaquarters.

One argument is that chains can be cheaper for the locals, and I have no doubt that Wal-Mart is cheaper than a local store. But if you consider that Wal-Mart pulls money consistently out of the community, I wonder if the community and its locals would be better off paying a little bit more and having their own businesses thrive, which gives them more money to spend.

Are there any cities that have banned national chains? How has that worked out? If I was on a city council I'd strongly consider it. And I think it goes double for a tourist-dependent town. You go on vacation to shake things up, and I wonder if tourism will decline in the long term if every tourist town eventually becomes a strip of La Quinta, Starbucks, and Applebee's.

Thoughts?
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Old 04-13-2013, 12:23 PM   #31
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I guess.

You're still not gonna find a mom and pop store with as much varied selection in consumer goods.

Sorry mom and pop. Open a donut shop. I'll buy your donuts over Wal Mart's shitty donuts for sure.

But I'm going to Wal Mart when I need to pick up a blu-ray, a new car battery, some ice cream bars and some underwear.
You will find plenty of mom and pops that have fresher produce/meat/seafood, and specialty stores (e.g. hardware) staffed by people who can help you in ways big box retailers cannot. I can see the point in that it's become completely impossible for these kind of stores to compete. I hate that I have to go to Best Buy, but there aren't many other options.
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Old 04-13-2013, 12:27 PM   #32
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People must love them then, or it wouldn't have grown like that.
No one said we are a smart populace.
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Old 04-13-2013, 12:28 PM   #33
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Originally Posted by chiefzilla1501 View Post
I actually agree with you on this. I've seen areas that have banned chain stores because they believe there is a nice local, indie feel that makes it a good destination spot. I think it's completely up to the interests of the people or businesses in that area. People choose to live there, knowing that it will be harder to get a quick WalMart or Target run in.

I don't think chains are a bad thing, as long as they play by the same rules as everyone else. I don't like hearing about sweetheart deals that allow big chains to get incentives that small businesses can't get.

Ironically, I think a lot of people think that banning chain stores is socialist and anti-competitive, but your well-worded point confirms that it's exactly the opposite. It's capitalism at its finest, because one community is saying that they're going to brand themselves and niche themselves differently. In the case of tourist towns, I think this could be a profitable niche for the community, particularly if one defines profitable as ensuring sustainability for the long term.

And yeah, the sweetheart incentive deals are the worst thing ever. Cities slit their own throats on those deals and I don't think they're doing the analysis right to justify them.

On the topic of fair playing fields, someone else mentioned that chains just compete with local businesses. I contend that it's different. Let's use a football analogy. A local town scours its citizenry and comes up with the best 22 football players in town. Now a corporation comes in and they've got the best 22 football players in the country on their team (as a metaphor for larger buying power, centralized operations, etc.). Who's going to win?

I'm pro-competition and have always been free market, but on a local basis I'm starting to think that there's a free-market incentive to keeping national chains out. It's just a lot more subtle than simple pricing and demand.
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Old 04-13-2013, 12:42 PM   #34
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On the topic of fair playing fields, someone else mentioned that chains just compete with local businesses. I contend that it's different. Let's use a football analogy. A local town scours its citizenry and comes up with the best 22 football players in town. Now a corporation comes in and they've got the best 22 football players in the country on their team (as a metaphor for larger buying power, centralized operations, etc.). Who's going to win?

I'm pro-competition and have always been free market, but on a local basis I'm starting to think that there's a free-market incentive to keeping national chains out. It's just a lot more subtle than simple pricing and demand.
You say here its ok to ban chain businesses because they are more efficient or effective than independent businesses, but where does this stop? If one local business is able to make itself more efficient or profitable than everyone else and starts putting them out of business do you shut it down, too? If not, it sounds like a blatant money-grab by local businesses who just want less competitors.

Football is a terrible analogy because the product in football is the game, not the teams. They compete but what makes it a good product is a good game. In business, the most efficient or popular business makes the most profits, and we shouldn't discourage that or ban it outright as you suggest just because you think its distasteful.
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Old 04-13-2013, 12:49 PM   #35
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Ironically, I think a lot of people think that banning chain stores is socialist and anti-competitive, but your well-worded point confirms that it's exactly the opposite. It's capitalism at its finest, because one community is saying that they're going to brand themselves and niche themselves differently. In the case of tourist towns, I think this could be a profitable niche for the community, particularly if one defines profitable as ensuring sustainability for the long term.

And yeah, the sweetheart incentive deals are the worst thing ever. Cities slit their own throats on those deals and I don't think they're doing the analysis right to justify them.

On the topic of fair playing fields, someone else mentioned that chains just compete with local businesses. I contend that it's different. Let's use a football analogy. A local town scours its citizenry and comes up with the best 22 football players in town. Now a corporation comes in and they've got the best 22 football players in the country on their team (as a metaphor for larger buying power, centralized operations, etc.). Who's going to win?

I'm pro-competition and have always been free market, but on a local basis I'm starting to think that there's a free-market incentive to keeping national chains out. It's just a lot more subtle than simple pricing and demand.
I'm mostly with the free market on this. There are small pop-up grocery stores that do very well, because they market themselves well and price high. Same with hardware stores. It sucks for small business and it sucks for us as consumers, but then again, the reason WalMart is succeeding is because their price and convenience is attractive enough that people will still go there even if they know they're getting a shittier experience.

If people in a town rally behind their small businesses, they should have the ability to keep WalMart from coming in. My guess is most small towns would be ecstatic at knowing they can get dirt cheap prices that will help them save a few bucks.

Rather than force small businesses to come up with failing businesses, we should encourage the innovation to create new businesses WalMart and company can't beat.
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Old 04-13-2013, 12:54 PM   #36
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You say here its ok to ban chain businesses because they are more efficient or effective than independent businesses, but where does this stop? If one local business is able to make itself more efficient or profitable than everyone else and starts putting them out of business do you shut it down, too? If not, it sounds like a blatant money-grab by local businesses who just want less competitors.
If the business is local and keeping money in the community I don't ban them. That's the criterion, not whether they're efficient.

Another option that might be more palatable would be this:

From a local community perspective, we recognize that non-locally owned businesses produce a negative impact on the local economy. Therefore, sales taxes or property taxes or whatever on those businesses will be higher to offset the exporting of profits from the community, and the tax dollars will be used to lower taxes to the community at large.

It's not about distasteful, it's about economic viability.
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Old 04-13-2013, 12:58 PM   #37
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Towns that can afford to ban wal mart don't need wal mart to begin with. Consider small towns in the middle of nowhere that struggle to hold their population and provide services to them. Wal Mart is a godsend to them. If you're a town with tourist appeal, then sure, by all means rely on local businesses to carry the load and pay the taxes.
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Old 04-13-2013, 12:59 PM   #38
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Like you I try to spend my $ at non corporate places. I believe it is more important now to the survival of america than ever to do this.
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Old 04-13-2013, 01:28 PM   #39
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Wal Mart is also going to create a lot more jobs than a mom and pop.

There are two sides to this coin.
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Old 04-13-2013, 01:33 PM   #40
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No one said we are a smart populace.
We each do our own valuing in the market place. So this is your opinion. There's plenty of more expensive places to buy products—also made in China despite thinking otherwise.
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Old 04-13-2013, 01:35 PM   #41
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If the business is local and keeping money in the community I don't ban them. That's the criterion, not whether they're efficient.
Wha wha wha? Efficiency is a key to productivity and rising standards of living.


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It's not about distasteful, it's about economic viability.
Someone, or a few, planning out what is viable which is not market based, is less economically viable. All evidence points to this.
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Old 04-13-2013, 01:37 PM   #42
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Walpole? I grew up one town over. I never noticed you were from that area...or perhaps I did but forgot.
yup, sitting here in West Roxbury. Which town are you from? Foxborough? Needham?
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Old 04-13-2013, 01:37 PM   #43
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Originally Posted by Wonton Prejudice View Post
Wal Mart is also going to create a lot more jobs than a mom and pop.

There are two sides to this coin.
in china.
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Old 04-13-2013, 01:41 PM   #44
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Old 04-13-2013, 01:43 PM   #45
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In West Roxbury, no big chains are really allowed. Although there have been some, like dunkin donuts is the most popular thing on earth here. Plus like starbucks and papa johns and shit. But no drive thru fast food places, none. Most of the stores are locally owned and have stayed in business for a long time. If a Wal Mart came in, I'm assuming they would all go out of business and would do more harm than good.
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