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We can plainly see the country’s biggest retailer becoming, in so many places, the only retailer in town (or several towns).
Bill Quinn

Our Programs: Livability


A broad selection of stores that provide personalized service and lend character to downtown,


or a few Big Boxes that control most of the shopping choices.

Big Box Blues

  • CHG is not anti-business or anti-jobs, nor do we argue your town shouldn’t have any Big Boxes. But a livable approach, one that favors local entrepreneurs over multinational chains, can result in better jobs and a healthier economy. Almost 90% of businesses are small ones. Encourage and celebrate that; it provides diversity and it’s more sustainable – economically and environmentally.

  • When a Big Box sets up shop on the edge of town, on average other businesses will see sales decline 25% within five years, and many will close. Most likely, these stores paid employees more and provided better benefits – and they were often downtown. Remember, better-paid employees circulate their salaries in town, dining out and shopping – something that’s not as likely when workers barely make minimum wage.

  • Big Boxes say they provide jobs, but for every job created even more positions are lost elsewhere – many in smaller shops that enhance a place’s character. People often work in locally-owned businesses for years; they know their products and their customers – not so in Big Boxes, where more than 40% of employees turn over annually.

  • Locally-owned stores donate significantly more to schools and charities.

  • If you’re trying to build community identity and livability, is there anything more unappealing than a windowless hunk of unadorned stucco wrapped in a sea of asphalt? Smaller businesses, on the other hand, often set up shop in historic buildings. Bottom line: too many Big Boxes hampers livability.