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To Chain or Not to Chain

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Timely (not to mention neverending) talk today of chain stores' collective value to communities as home improvement chain Lowe's readies a move into the Bayview. Certain sophisticates among us champion local independents (as well as dislike association with the unwashed masses, surely), but there's a flip side too, according to a blog pondering chain regulation in St. Louis: "Local retailers, boutiques and independent restaurants likely cannot serve all residents. It's wonderful to have $25 parmesan cheese available in the city, but what about those who want (couch jam St. Louis cheese) Provel?" Viva la Starbucks! [Saint Louis Urban Workshop, via Streetsblog]