Why We Need Local Businesses

Sophia Gaitanis, Lion's Roar Staff

A vacant lot of land is precious when it comes to a small town. There’s so much opportunity for beauty and development–opportunity which shouldn’t be thrown away by building a chain business. The Lincoln Planning Board gave valuable taxpayers a scare this summer when disclosing their plans to develop an Arbys and Cumberland Farms to be situated at the corner of George Washington Highway and Blackstone Valley Place.

Understandably, this caused an outcry from devoted members of the town. Critics argued this move would destroy the landscape, congest the surrounding street, diminish the quality of life for those in the residential area, and give high school students access to abuse substances, but this issue sparked much bigger concerns for me.

The proposal only unveils what this town seems to be lacking most–more local businesses. Without unique businesses that reflect our community, Lincoln lacks the identity which distinguishes it from any other town in America. Arbys and Cumberland Farms are two businesses familiar with business supporters extending far outside from only Lincoln. Businesses like Fundati, Coffee Cubby, Lincoln Creamery, however, are unique to our Lincoln community. When visiting a town foreign to me, I seek out the comforting experience that comes with each purchase at a local business. Each set of values I encounter are irreplaceable and unique to the faces behind the business- faces which I usually get to see.

This experience doesn’t compare with the rushed and formulaic transactions that come with each visit at chain businesses. Not only would this push for small businesses mean more job opportunities, better tax revenue, and more access to services, but it would provide a sense of community this town desperately needs. The view I get when driving down 116 isn’t necessarily appealing. I’m overwhelmed with flashy signs, crowded cars, and identical buildings all placed in line.

Businesses are run from cities across the country–not from a home around the corner. What this town desperately needs is the welcoming view of unique businesses– each with a purpose to improve our town and help the community. Luckily, local concerns overruled economic endeavors in the vote to approve this proposal. Although the intent of this decision doesn’t exactly reflect my desire to incorporate local businesses, I take it as a small victory. I only hope this will serve as a valuable lesson to taxpayers to be cautious of where their money goes and how this affects our aspirations as a community.