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The Hometown Advantage: How To Defend Your Main Street Against Chain Stores … and Why It Matters

| Written by Stacy Mitchell | No Comments | Updated on Nov 7, 2000 The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at

by Stacy Mitchell
ISBN: 0-917582-89-6
paperback, 101 pgs, $14.00

Hometown Advantage CoverEmail us for info on ordering copies

Across the U.S., cities and towns are grappling with the proliferation of chain stores and the loss of locally owned businesses. The trends are dismal.11,000 local pharmacies have closed their doors since 1990. Independent bookstores now account for less than 20% of book sales. Neighborhood hardware stores are disappearing: two chains have captured more than 25% of the market.

But trends are not destiny. Concentration occurs only when we allow it to occur and currently public policy not only allows absentee ownership, it actively encourages it. It is time to change the rules.

From local zoning ordinances to federal antitrust policy, The Hometown Advantage provides a comprehensive guide to reviving the homegrown economy.

“When your Mayor or City Council tells you nothing can be done to fight megastores and global corporations, give them a copy of Stacy Mitchell’s timely and hopeful book.”
– Jim Hightower, America’s most popular populist and former Texas Agriculture Commissioner

“Anyone concerned about the preservation of locally owned small businesses in America should read The Home Town Advantage. . . This concise, readable report is a real eye-opener in explaining how public policies often favor absentee-owned businesses over the local businesses that contribute so significantly to a community’s civic life and distinctive character.”
– Constance Beaumont, policy director for the National Trust for Historic Preservation

A resource guide for citizens and policymakers, The Hometown Advantage will show readers how to:

  • Assess the true impact of megastores on jobs, taxes and the local economy.
  • Enact land use policies that deter chain stores and allow Main Street to thrive.
  • Collaborate with nearby towns to develop a regional approach to megastores.
  • Sharpen the competitive edge of small businesses through alliances and cooperatives.

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About Stacy Mitchell

Stacy Mitchell is co-director of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, and directs its Community-Scaled Economy Initiative, which produces research and analysis, and partners with a range of allies to design and implement policies that curb economic consolidation and strengthen community-rooted enterprise.  She is the author of Big-Box Swindle and also produces a popular monthly newsletter, the Hometown Advantage Bulletin.  Connect with her on twitter and catch her TEDx Talk: Why We Can’t Shop Our Way to a Better Economy. More

Contact Stacy   |   View all articles by Stacy Mitchell