Stoelker frames the dilemma confronting retailers as a tug of war between the charming mom-and-pop stores that bring value to the urban environment and local community and large-scale developers who have the means to offer better prices and are now, "curating their retail experiences to appear more local." Stoelker also examines the efforts by various municipal governments to address, or ignore, this competition through zoning regulations.
According to Stoelker, "Today's urban customer wants small shops and a homespun product while demanding the convenience, variety, and price that only the chains can offer."
What impact do the overbuilt retail market and the siphoning of more and more revenue from place-based competitors by virtual shopping have on this battle? These are among the hidden forces that Stoelker fails to address.