Sprawl and Small Businesses Essay

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Sprawl and Small Businesses During the past 15 years, I have seen my once-rural hometown of Washington Township transform into a maze of single-family housing developments and strip malls. This type of growth has not been gentle on the local economy, especially small businesses. Stores such as the mom and pop hardware store, a local mainstay for many decades, have been forced out of business by the construction of two Home Depots and a Lowe’s within a two-mile radius of the town’s main street. This negative aspect of sprawl has been a trend that has repeated itself nationwide in recent years. Mega chain stores, or big boxes, are a phenomenon that has spread all over the country, and has exploded in…show more content…
They thrive on duplicating these qualities in every store regardless of location or demographics of the area. This conditions consumers to shop at their stores because they know what they are going to get and feel comfortable going there. For example, when a family who shopped at the Home Depot in New York moves to Washington Township, they are probably going to shop at the Home Depot there, rather than the local hardware store. The conditioning, or “brainwashing” as some view it, of customers is evident in the effect on the economy of Mercer County. The proprietor of the former hardware store in Washington Township also owns several other stores in the neighboring towns of Hamilton and Trenton. These surrounding communities have been developed long ago and haven’t seen the recent inflow of new housing and people that Washington has. Many of the people in those towns are working class and have roots in their respective communities. These people continue to support the smaller hardware stores, and business has not been affected after Home Depot and Lowe’s moved in. However, the store located in Washington Township was devastated by the construction of the mega stores. After speaking to the owner of the store, it seems as if the store’s demise was due to the “brainwashing” of the younger generations. Many of the residents that have moved into Washington Township during the past 10 years are young, upper-middle class
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