Louisa County, VA. planner and Rooflines blogger David Holtzman writes about the ever growing presence of dollar store chains in rural parts of the country in his blog post "Dollar Stores Take Their Place on the Block." While praising the willingness of these chains to open up in places where other larger retailers will not (incomes in rural areas have long lagged those in suburban and urban communities), Holtzman notes that a preponderance of any of these stores in a community could potentially rid it of vibrancy and uniqueness.
Concern with the spread of chain stores is not limited to rural America, however. In a new piece for The Atlantic Cities, Sarah Goodyear looks at the spread of 7-Elevens in New York City, the perceived threat to the neighborhood bodega, and the ensuing backlash. "The rise of 7-Eleven is just one example of the increasing dominance of chain stores in the city at large," observes Goodyear. "[T]here’s no denying that the texture of the city would be flattened if the idiosyncratic bodega became an endangered species. Not so much because of what the stores sell as because of the larger role they play in the community."