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Are Chain Stores Choking Our Communities?

Big chain retail locations are a permanent part of metro Atlanta's landscape, but some residents are saying enough is enough. What do you think?


Their names are instantly familiar, their logos immediately recognizable. Some of them represent the world's most famous brand names, while others are well on their way to prosperity and success.

Chain retail stores are as much of the American way of life as hot dogs, baseball and apple pie. And over the past several months, their numbers seem to be growing throughout metro Atlanta.

In Chamblee, a new Zaxby's - which tooks months longer to build than expected because of financing issues - will open on Monday. An old Stone Mountain Dairy Queen has been demolished, and another Zaxby's will soon take its place.

After announcing plans to replace the old Atlanta Diner on North Druid Hills Road, McDonald's now plans a second location on Clairmont Road.

And fast-food chains aren't the only ones proliferating in metro Atlanta lately. Walmart recently broke ground on its newest Supercenter on Cascade Road in southwest Atlanta, directly across from another retail giant, the Cascade Home Depot.

But while a new Family Dollar store is under construction in Lithonia, some southwest Atlanta communties have been actively fighting an influx of Family Dollar stores, and a similar fight against the new Walmart may be brewing.

Walmart is already facing a fierce battle on Decatur's border, as residents have joined together to fight its proposed Suburban Plaza location.

So our Patch question of the week is: Are chain stores choking our communities? Do we need more of these major retail developments, or are too many already dotting our urban landscape?

Related Items:

Chamblee Zaxby's Will Open Next Week.

From A Big Heap Of Rubble To A Future Zaxby's.

McDonald's Going For Second Clairmont Road Location.

Family Dollar Store Under Construction On Panola Road.

Walmart Broke Ground On New Cascade Road Superstore.

Residents Chant 'No Family Dollar' In Protest Of Fairburn Road Construction.

Good Growth DeKalb Still Looking For Legal Case Against Walmart.

Ms. November 08, 2012 at 02:26 PM
No, that was not my point, and I don't eat at McDonalds but they are everywhere and suggesting otherwise to people who may not be well-traveled is wrong IMO. But that was a nice attempt to villainize someone who simply posed a thought contrary to yours. My point was, that many Americans have a distorted view of other countries, and their ideal utopias they envision elsewhere don't actually exist. Whether the junk is sold on a street, or in a chain store, it was made off the back off someone else, usually in a sweatshop, somewhere in Asia. Many Americans can be incredibly naive about these issues. The pet food deaths are a good example. People think dangerous junk from China are some sort of Walmart phenomenon, and if only we could stop Walmart, things like this would cease to exist. Well, the deadly pet food is sold in Target (GASP!!!!!! OMG!!!! not super cool Target!!!!!!!!) Publix, Kroger, and probably hundreds of other places that don't start with a "W."
Brett November 08, 2012 at 02:58 PM
Ms. - Half of all the McDonald's in the entire world are located in the USA, and they continue to grow here rapidly. No one said they can't be found in other countries and I didn't "villainize" you - in spite of your condescending tone. Your thought wasn't contrary to mine, it was off point.
FullDisclosure November 08, 2012 at 03:46 PM
I don't disagree with the notion that there are too many "chain stores". However, I don't see people creating new concepts that could occupy these spaces, nor putting up their capital to develop them, and ultimately the same people that oppose a store for one reason or another end up patronizing it once it is in. People in this country are habitual complainers, yet offer no solution to the problem, so we deserve what we get.
Heyward November 08, 2012 at 04:28 PM
Only chain smoking stores are choking our communities. :)
FM Fats November 08, 2012 at 04:58 PM
This is what capitalism is all about, folks. Live with it.
Lucas Roberts November 08, 2012 at 05:27 PM
Agree. It is capitalism, but there has to be limits. That’s why we have zoning and laws. If it wasn’t for zoning - buildings would not have set backs - factories could be built in the middle of communities - and junk yards would be place at the intersection of Briarcliff and Clairmont (wait - ones already there) The point is - maybe we need to make stronger zoning laws to prohibit chain on top of chain on top of chain.
Tammy November 08, 2012 at 07:49 PM
I agree. You are going to see more and more chains and fewer and fewer mom and pop stores. The economy certainly favors those with deep pockets that can weather months of slow business...many single outlet stores simply don't have the reserves to handle extended downturns.
Ms. November 08, 2012 at 08:07 PM
"It's a pleasure to go to another country and not see the same series of restaurants selling horrible food, or stores selling cheap junk." "I've seen a McDonalds in every country I have been in...my travels and experiences have shown me something entirely different." con·trar·y/ˈkänˌtre(ə)rē/ Adjective: Opposite in nature, direction, or meaning. Noun: The opposite.
Brett November 08, 2012 at 08:21 PM
I'll say this for you Ms. - you picked an appropriate screen name. For the sake of everyone else - please stay single!
DunwoodyWorkingMan November 08, 2012 at 09:31 PM
Those "communities" are choking our society
Deanne November 08, 2012 at 10:09 PM
I agree that we get what we deserve -- though I think we come at it from different angles. I cannot imagine it's easy to develop new concepts to have them succeed in a country that's satisfied with McDonalds and Walmart on every corner. And when McDonalds and Walmart have grown so big and rich that they dictate the economy. I wish we were more community-minded and supported local, new, creative or different businesses -- and created a business culture in which the people who have these ideas had a better chance to bring them to fruition.
Fred November 08, 2012 at 10:17 PM
You don't have to go to "another country" to see how pleasant it is to have a low influence of chain stores... just go to Asheville, NC. They have a wonderful downtown area that only has "one" national chain store (Urban Outfitters) ... you can walk up and down blocks and blocks of streets and see all independent stores and restaurants. I'm not some kinda chain store nazi ... I like Target and a Chick-fil-a #1 just as much as the next person but it is very refreshing to see an area like downtown Asheville. Alsmost takes you back in time.
John McGrew November 08, 2012 at 10:26 PM
Don't like them? Don't shop at them and they will go away. I' have always been amused by those who pine for their local "mom & pop" businesses, but rarely shop at them. It seems they are more in love with the idea of them than the reality...
JANYCE November 08, 2012 at 10:29 PM
It's even nice to go to new york and only see one mcdonald's in each community not 20
Galvanize November 08, 2012 at 11:01 PM
Guess what, if a Mom and Pop business does well and opens a second location anywhere, that makes them the same a a chain store. Quit complaining about someone taking an idea and building a business and doing it well. The real problem is Amazon.com. This company is even cutting into the chain stores business. I can get my products for less, have them delivered to my door for free and not have to worry about traffic or wasting my time with some underpaid salesperson who doesn't even know how to use a cash register. You think I will shop at some mom and pop store in the proposed Dunwoody Parkway area - definitely not, I dont support wasted money to try to benefit the few.
Brett November 08, 2012 at 11:15 PM
And I've always been amused by those that can tell where people shop without knowing anything whatsoever about them. Looks like a win-win for both of us!
Brett November 08, 2012 at 11:20 PM
Some might see a difference between opening up a second location and opening up 33,000 more locations. But you don't, and that makes you interesting. Also, nice work in proudly proclaiming you won't shop in local mom and pop stores because you don't want to "benefit the few" (your neighbors). With that logic you should run for public office!
John McGrew November 08, 2012 at 11:23 PM
Brett, if most people preferred the "mom & pop" over the chains, they wouldn't be disappearing.
Brett November 09, 2012 at 12:54 AM
"if most people preferred the "mom & pop" over the chains, they wouldn't be disappearing." I don;t believe it's a matter of preference, its a matter of what exists. Do you have lots of mom and pop stores to choose from in your neighborhood? I don't, and that's the point. I do what I can to avoid chain stores but it's getting more difficult all the time as the chains take over. It seems many here are satisfied with cheap and easy crap - so whoever said "we deserve it" is correct.
Ms. November 09, 2012 at 01:11 AM
Feel better now?
Brett November 09, 2012 at 01:26 AM
I feel about the same - very well. Thanks for asking!
John McGrew November 09, 2012 at 02:04 AM
If they never existed but people preferred them over chains, then they'd be opening up instead of chains. Most of the shops within walking distance to my home are not chains.
Deanne November 09, 2012 at 03:25 AM
Hi, newest Deanne! (Newest because there's a Deanne who joined Patch just the other day. Freaky, huh?) If you wouldn't mind, will you please go with another handle? Folks might become very confused as to who's who if we're both commenting on area development. (And since you don't seem to be a fan of Walmart, you definitely don't want that to happen! :0)
Treena Matthews November 09, 2012 at 09:28 PM
No, people like YOU are choking our communities. What an ignorant statement to say about residents who are standing up and fighting for something they believe in! If more residents did this, we wouldn't have the issues that we do.
Sally November 09, 2012 at 11:43 PM
That's probably because they are an American company.
Sally November 09, 2012 at 11:48 PM
They wouldn't exist if the business wasn't there to support them. There are many chain stores that I like. I even wish some of them were in my neighborhood. How about the sainted Trader Joe's that so many on this site have longed for. Is that not a chain store? Of course it it. If you don't like chain stores, don't shop in them. Many of us do.
prettyflower November 11, 2012 at 05:26 AM
This is a really complex topic. I think there are a lot of people out there who want to spend their money wisely but wrestle with the fact that it's sometimes easier and less expensive to shop at a chain. This is a good reminder to me that I want to spend more money at mom and pop stores this holiday season. I am not against chain stores but I am in favor of zoning that protects communities from getting too overbuilt.
Carl Childers November 11, 2012 at 10:59 AM
Nope.
Lindsay November 13, 2012 at 10:15 PM
If citizens didn't shop at chain stores, they wouldn't exist. Just because the shoppers who do utilize their (usually) lower prices aren't on this thread, doesn't mean there aren't countless numbers of people who patronize them. Chain stores should not be looked down upon, they serve a purpose and meet needs. Chain stores should not be subject to zoning or regulations that any other businesses don't abide by. That being said, I am supporter of small business and try to patronize small businesses whenever possible. We don't need to form new laws to "regulate big business" because as Galvanize said, if one small business does well and opens a new location, they are technically a chain. What we need to do is change the way people in our communities think and educate people about how supporting small, local businesses is positive for their community. There is a place in our country for both small businesses and chains. Everything in moderation, folks. Also, for the people who have been to Europe and favor no chain businesses, please also note that the cost of living in European countries is much higher.
John McGrew November 15, 2012 at 04:10 PM
Thanks! More domains to add to my client's blacklists!

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