The antichain store movement has been gaining momentum across the country for years, with towns like McCall, Idaho; Port Townsend, Wash.; Ogunquit, Me.; and Carmel-by-the-Sea, Calif., enacting laws that restrict such businesses. The ordinances work in one or a combination of ways: by requiring formula businesses to be approved for permits on a case-by-case basis, by not allowing such businesses to open at all in certain defined districts, by capping the number of chains allowed in the town, or by requiring chains to meet certain conditions.
PROVINCETOWN, Mass. — It was a family-owned T-shirt shop that sent Barbara Rushmore on a mission to ban chain stores from this quaint and quirky seaside town.“Cuffy’s came to town and demolished the business of many who designed and made their own shirts in their stores,” said Ms. Rushmore, a self-described gadfly who has also championed town bans on pay toilets and cigarette vending machines. Though Cuffy’s has just two locations, both on Cape Cod, it is known for its Wal-Mart-like low prices: A recent sale at its Provincetown branch, opened in 2007, offered three hooded sweatshirts for $9.99. Its success with tourists here was instant.“It occurred to me that, as bad as that is, imagine if we got a Burger King or McDonald’s?” Ms. Rushmore said. Stores like that would threaten the many independently owned businesses in town, she said, and compromise Provincetown’s small-town New England charm. She drafted an amendment to the town’s zoning bylaw aimed at discouraging chain stores, or “formula businesses,” as they are legally termed. It would do this by requiring them to obtain both a permit from the Zoning Board of Appeals and site plan approval from the Planning Board.
By Beth Greenfield, June 8, 2010 NYT