Stopping Chain Stores From Dominating Communities

If you’re not looking for it, you might not notice what makes Candice Osborne’s Jersey City neighborhood different. Like so many other newly developed areas of American cities, it is filled with glass-clad condos stretching dozens of stories into the sky. But as Osborne and I walk around, she points out what isn’t there: no Starbucks, no CVS, no Chase Bank. Instead, on the ground floor of Osborne’s building, there’s an independent coffee shop called Beechwood Cafe, a hair salon, a public school and Downtown Pharmacy ― where Osborne picks up a packet of jalapeño-flavored Mary’s Gone Crackers, her new favorite snack. “They don’t carry this kind of stuff at CVS,” she says. The 39-year-old digital strategist can also get an omelet with whatever she wants at Beechwood and treats for her dog, things she couldn’t grab at a Starbucks. “It’s little things,” she says. “But they’re indicative of the fact that they understand the neighborhood.”
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