Chains or not to chain?

Chains or not to chain – that is NOT the question!

Okay – with today’s announcement of two new “chains” coming to Hoboken this year (Athleta and Francesca’s), I guess it’s time to figure out why. And is it a “problem” or a necessary evil?

For one, did you see what Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop wants to do to “combat” the invasion of chains? He wants to limit the chain rentals to no more than 30% (of stores which have 10 or more locations within 300 miles of Jersey City.) So fucking wrong.

While we prefer “mom and pop” type stores over chains, I still think it’s up to the property owner to decide who he will rent the space to (including “red light district” type operations).

The minute we “cheer” local governments for DICTATING what property owners should do with their property – we got some serious problems. And it will only get worse if people keep allowing this to happen. If a small business (i.e., an income-generating property owner) is now restricted in how much earning potential they have – this is the same as telling a bar owner how much they should charge for a pint of beer.

Anti-free market.

The same way we have stupid “equal opportunity” laws dictating how properties are sold and rented – the over-reaching governments should abide by the same for landlords.

Even better, get rid of those laws as well. If I owned an apartment complex, I’d much prefer to choose to rent to people I’d think wouldn’t trash my property.

Never support any “politicians” that want to meddle in the private business affairs of those who pay their salaries (and exorbitant benefits).

chains in cities like Hoboken and Jersey City NJ

But is there a solution?

If you support free markets and minimal government nanny state – but also kind of hate the whole “strip mall” chain environment, how would you plan on keeping it in check?

Partial answer is – you cannot. Not instantly, at least. Which is why chains blow up like this, and expand to enormous sizes.

Another reason is the economy as a whole. The disparity between “big businesses” and “mom and pop” is growing. From sweetheart deals for large corporations, tax loopholes and more – “mom and pop” are at a huge disadvantage (because chains can afford higher rents). Not to mention the value of a dollar keeps going down the more they “print.”

I suppose it’s up to the individual property owners. Some are just out for the bottom line – and don’t care about the types of tenants. Which is fine. But others do have more visionary approach to building a unique and diverse community (think the Pilsener Haus area – with owners like Hany Ahmed…)

It’s also up to the communities themselves. Sure, let the Baby Gap’s and other chains come. If they don’t have enough customers – the stores would eventually go away on their own. But there are not enough people that feel like that to support such a change. To most, the chains (like Walmart) provide the things they want at a substantially lower price. Many local shops just can’t compete.

Isn’t it better to show support with your wallets rather than some stupid politicians? How lame!

Restricting the types of businesses is just wrong – and shouldn’t be done. Let things even out naturally – without government intervention.

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