Bigger isn’t better

Large corporations overshadow local business


Alex Haab, Opinion Editor

While new chain restaurants and big corporate stores are great for the consumer, they are bad news for local business owners.
Everyone raves about the new, lavish, Starbucks that opened up on Sherman Street in Downtown Evanston, but no one mentions all the profit that the Unicorn Cafe right across the street is losing. Local businesses should not have to deal with the competition that large corporations put on the Evanston economy.
Recently, one big chain store Trader Joe’s was opened up on Chicago St. to much praise and approval. However, according to EvanstonNow, Diana Hamann, the owner of the local wine shop “Wine Goddess” says that Trader Joes’ wine sales are hurting her business. Hamann is currently appealing to the Liquor Control Review Board of Evanston to have adjustments made to have on-sight wine sampling, simply to compete with Trader Joe’s.
If you look around Downtown Evanston, most stores are part of a chain, such as Panera Bread, Pret A Manger, and Chipotle. These stores control much of the downtown commerce, making it hard for local businesses to keep up with the already well-known and established companies.. The same stores have been in the same location for years while smaller, local shops like J.K Sweets and Pomegranate have opened and closed within a couple of years.
On the other hand, large businesses do have their perks. Opening a large, corporate store like Trader Joes allows for more employees to be hired than an average store, and is able to stimulate the economy with the amount of businesses it has been receiving. According to Elaine Kemna-Irish, the Executive Director of the Evanston Chamber of Commerce, some chain restaurants such as Andy’s Frozen Custard and Jamba Juice are also able to lend a hand to the community by donating custard or smoothies to fundraisers.
However, while those big businesses are able to prosper and grow, small businesses like Boris’ Diner have unfortunately had to close. It is hard to see that these big stores have a negative impact while they appear to have such a positive impact on us, the consumer. We as a city need to honor the little guy and try and give some revenue to smaller businesses like Aguas Tortas and The Supreme Burrito instead of supplying larger corporations like Chipotle.
So the next time you buy food, go to a local store or shop, because they are the ones that need it the most.