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Spartan

Can a city be judged by its chains?

Can a city be judged by how many chains it has?  

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  1. 1. Can a city be judged by how many chains it has?

    • Yes
      5
    • No
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    • Other
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Today eberything is nationwide. The USA has more and more business chains or "franchises" everywhere. So the question is, can you judge a city by what chains it has?

For example- My hometown of Spartanburg has no Olive Garden (Italian Restaurant) right now. But Greenville does. Columbia has two.

Spartanburg has 2 Walmarts, Greenville has three, Columbia 5.

Spartanburg has 11 McDonalds, Greenville 17, Columbia 23.

I think every city that has people in it has a Subway.

So does the sum of a cities franchise help to define it? Can you say "Oh, well this town doesnt have an Olive Garden, it must not be very big. Or it must not be a very good place to live.

On the other side of that- can you say hey, we're probably going to get an Olive Garden soon, thats great! That makes our town better than it was. Do chain restaurants really mean that much to everyone?

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Metro Detroit seems to be missing a lot of major national chains, despite being a metro of 5.2 million people. However, I don't think that the fact that we are missing some of the major chains makes us any better or worse than any other city in the country. Besides, we have a ton of local restaurants and stores that are so much better than a lot of the national chains.

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Bennigan's has 12 restaurants in Houston, they even have one in Coralville, IA but absolutely NONE in Charlotte. And don't tell me they're not in the NC market, there is one in Winston-Salem, Fayetteville, Wilmingon and Cary. :rolleyes:

We used to have one, but they took it away! <_>

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I don't think so at all. In south central PA, Harrisburg has much less chain restaurants than Lancaster and York, even though Lancaster and York are much smaller markets. Lancaster and York seem to get the chain restaurants earlier because they are close to Philadelphia and Baltimore.

It is starting to change with the new Macaroni Grill, two new Damons Grills, Fudruckers, and a "European pizza" place (name hasnt been announced yet but it is a chain) that are opening up near the Harrisburg mall.

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There are a number of small towns with 3500 or less that DO NOT have a single chain in their city/town limits. The main reason is so that local businesses don't end up closing down. Historic DTs would rather have businesses open as many years as possible without suffering loss from some restaurant or food store opening up - on the highway bypasses. Locals have hometown restaurants, service stations and foot outlets that they want to have in their town based on the nature of being a part of the town. Others who don't want to eat in their own town, it is up to them to get used to traveling to another town if they want to eat at McDonald's, Jack In The Box, Taco Bell and other fast food joints.

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Today eberything is nationwide. The USA has more and more business chains or "franchises" everywhere.

Even fast food chains that are unheard of in a number of states are spreading out. Example: Jack In the Box was only known about in the West Coast and the Southwest. Last time I checked, the cchain added Louisiana, Carolinas and Missouri as states to build new restaurants. Do you have any restaurant chains that I may not know about, since I am down in Texas? Other chains in some states that are unkown to other states are: Whataburger (AZ, NM, TX, LA, MS, AL and FL), and Carls Jr. (West Coast).

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I used to count these things a long time ago, but it has since become a bit meaningless to me. I do remember when Nashville had no Starbucks and I thought it would be cool to have them. Now, they just opened their 19th or 20th store with more on the way, so I guess we've truly "arrived."

Panera Bread is another, there were none not too long ago, and now they seem to spring up everywhere. I think one is even planned for the downtown Kress lofts.

Waffle House. I remember years ago a friend of mine in Atlanta said there were 150 Waffle Houses in the greater Atlanta area. Now, hey, if that doesn't define a region, then I don't know what does. Sorry, ATL, just kiddin' ya.

So, in essence, no, I don't think a city can be defined clearly by the chains it has, but in many instances the entry into a market is predicated on economic factors, market demographics and fiscal viability. In some respects, defining characteristics are evident, but in the general scheme of things, a cities identity is much more complex than whether there's a MacDonald's on every corner.

I do, however, greet the arrival of Coyote Ugly. For some reason, it seems to validate some of Nashville's cool factor. I'm sure the same goes for Austin, Charlotte, Memphis and the other 10 or so Uglies out there.

This is a more complicated question than it seemed when I just checked no.

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You can probably rate the importance of small or even medium size towns within the same region. However, it's hard to do it nationally. Some chains are very regional, while others grow like weeds.

When it comes to the medium to large cities, national chain stores become more of a negative. The more chains you have, the more boring your town since it is hard to preserve the character and local charm if the chains wipe them all away.

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I hadn't even heard of Bennigan's until 2 weeks ago (thank you, goonsta), and never heard of a bunch of others named in this thread like Macaroni Grill, Panera Bread, etc.; never seen a Jack in the Box either. Which shows that while chains are often condemned for their "nationwide" homogenization, the majority of them still tend to remain in their regional markets and are ironically in a sense, symbols of regional distinction.

No, chains alone don't judge a city but may point out the underlying geography of a city (ex. more Wal-Marts per capita usually means more sprawl, a Saks Fifth Avenue means an upper-class presence in the city).

As far as Canada goes though, cities are often judged by the # of Tim Horton's. :D Some of their latest commercials are so fake though - a Tim Hortons mug being more recognizable than a Canadian flag? Sure.

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I can see your point, Chunky, but only if the chains are the only things going on. Nashville, for instance, is on a restaurant, bar, dance club, listening venue binge at the moment and most of those are going into parts of the inner ring areas and urban cores where chains are much, much less prevalent than in the burbs. Most of the new things possess a nice funk factor and in most cases are privately owned and one-of-a-kind. I doesn't matter what the 'burbs do or what they do outside the center city. Those areas all look alike no matter where you are. But even in the outer areas, I'm seeing so much private enterprise and ethnic resurgence. The chain stores just have bigger signs.

My point is, if you're in a large city, you might have more chains, but you've much more of the really good stuff too. And there's nothing boring about that. Unless you're a mall rat, and then, consider my sympathy extended.

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I used to count these things a long time ago, but it has since become a bit meaningless to me. I do remember when Nashville had no Starbucks and I thought it would be cool to have them. Now, they just opened their 19th or 20th store with more on the way, so I guess we've truly "arrived..."

...Waffle House. I remember years ago a friend of mine in Atlanta said there were 150 Waffle Houses in the greater Atlanta area. Now, hey, if that doesn't define a region, then I don't know what does. Sorry, ATL, just kiddin' ya...

It's funny you should mention Starbucks and Waffle House. My little town of 15,000 is about to get a Starbucks. I think the only reason we're getting one is because we're on I-95. I mean we're 85 miles from the nearest million+ metro (Raleigh or Richmond).

As for Waffle House, we have two and they're about 1000 feet from each other. One on each side of I-95. :huh::lol:

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I don't think you can judge a city by it's chains. Chain stores want to be anywhere people with money are. They don't care if a city is prestigious or cool they just want money. If people in an area can afford them then they'll be there sooner or later.

Also, there might be other reasons why a chain isn't in a certain market. Raleigh for instance is loosing some or even all (can't remember) of their Schlotzsky's Delis because the franchisee for the area didn't pay his royalties to the company, not because Raleigh couldn't support them. Certain cities also might not have a certain chain because the company just can't expand fast enough.

Many people complain about chains, but I don't have a problem with them. I actually like them because I know what I'm getting because they're all the same. If I go into a Burger King in New York for instance it's probably going to have just about the same thing as a Burger King in NC. There are some regional differences in chains, but for the most part I know what to expect.

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miami has a suprising lack of some franchises.

I really wish we had a stand-alone Chic-fil-a, but no. A Sonny's BBQ recently opened way down in southern Dade county. I'm not sure if the latin flavor scares off potential franchises or if there's a strong enough local scene that people don't want them.

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I voted "yes."

Pittsburgh gets judged on (and bashed for) this all the damn time.

No Nordstrom, no Lord & Taylor, no Neiman Marcus, no Tiffany & Co. ...but there is a Saks Fifth Avenue. But that doesn't count, probably because we have it, and since we have it, it can't possibly be anything special.

Pittsburgh is home to one of the first 10 IKEAs built in the U.S. But, like Saks Fifth Avenue, that doesn't count, because we have it, and since we have it, it can't possibly be anything special. (Everyone knows that Pittsburghers are nothing but a bunch of low-rent hicks, uneducated mill workers, curmudgeon old people, etc.)

I just love all the self-appointed fashion critics we have in this town. There's life beyond counting high-end department stores, you self-righteous f*cks. And if you don't like it here, you can either:

1) Quit your b*tching and make a difference.

2) Get the hell out of here, and let those who care to make a difference do so without you discouraging them every step of the way.

Just because I like Pittsburgh doesn't mean I have a mental disorder/disability, you sniveling b*tches! :angry:

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I think largely that I look down upon cities with a high amount of chains. However all cities have a lot of chains. The question would be, what is the ratio? In any case, to me the better city is the one that has many *local* options.

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