Why Independently Owned Retail and Restaurants Matters

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Put yourself in the shoes of an Atlanta Realtor, for a moment.
You get a call from a young couple that’s relocating from, well, insert your favorite city. New York, Boston, Portland, Asheville, San Francisco… whatever works for you. The couple is looking for a real neighborhood- the type of place where they can walk to dinner, sip coffee at an outdoor cafe, find a great mother’s (or father’s) day gift. The type of neighborhood that they loved in (insert favorite city), and that they hope to find in Atlanta.

 

Boston’s Newbury Street- prime retail shared by independents and chains alike. Walkable, serviced by mass transit, and right through the spine of the city. Something to aspire to…

Depending on a number of other factors, you might suggest one of the following intown ‘hoods: Virginia-Highland, Inman Park/Little Five Points, Decatur, Morningside, Kirkwood, East Atlanta, Grant Park or Castleberry Hill, just to name a few.

And when you think about it, as diverse as this group of neighborhoods is, they have one thing in common: independent, locally owned retail and restaurants.

This isn’t to say that that there’s anything wrong with the big boxes, per se. Sam’s Club has its place, Houston’s has great spinach artichoke dip and nobody beats Ikea at their game. But we’re talking about neighborhoods here, and no matter how loud Applebees yells that they’re “”Feelin’ Good In The Neighborhood!””, nobody will ever confuse the area around Perimeter Mall with New York’s Greenwich Village. Just ain’t happening.

Locally owned, independent retailers and restaurants make neighborhoods unique, helping give them that special sense of place that can’t be found anywhere else. And that’s where the folks at the 3/50 Project come into play.

The 3/50 Project is dedicated to helping save the independents, a vital sector of the retail economy that has been under heavy duress as of late. The movement is dedicated to supporting independents, and for those that love true neighborhoods, it’s a site worth checking out.

Full disclosure: I’m completely biased. I’m in love with an independent retailer.

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alexandra