It's a safe bet to say small businesses are the backbone of New Jersey. They help define what a community is and what it stands for.

So why should smaller towns embrace chain businesses? Wouldn't it be more beneficial to lean on mom-and-pop stores?

From this perspective, I would completely agree. We should be supporting our small businesses in our towns every opportunity we get.

I bring this up because of arguments I've seen on social media regarding this topic. In particular, many communities of small towns tend to be against proposed big chains coming into their towns. But there are benefits to having them where it won't necessarily hurt small businesses.

Railroad crossing at New Brunswick Ave and Tyler Place in Piscataway (Google Street View)

Think of the major roadways going through town. Most people may simply be passing through with no interest in spending time on the main drag.


Let's say they need a quick bite along the way. They're not going to stop at the local deli, they're going to go to what's familiar to them.

Joe Raedle, Getty Images

A quick hit at the drive-thru might be all they have time for, and the golden arches are something that's everywhere. You know what you're getting when you order.

A cup of Dunkin' coffee (Dan Alexander, Townsquare Media NJ)

Or maybe a quick coffee or drink is all that's needed.

Joe Raedle, Getty Images

Even gas locations are more likely to get business from motorists passing by simply because they're more familiar with the brand.

This April 29, 2014, file photo, shows an Exxon sign at a Exxon gas station in Carnegie, Pa. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File)

Now I know what you're thinking. Wouldn't this hurt our small businesses? Not necessarily, when you think of who supports the local businesses.

Downtown Morristown. (Google Maps)

The residents who live in the town are those who support them, and a chain shouldn't change that.

(Google Maps)

The location of a chain also matters, and the chains know this. If they're located along a highway that simply passes through town but usually has heavier traffic, that's where they want to be.

Zoonar RF

And this could be good for a town since it'll generate more revenue that they otherwise wouldn't have if not for those chains.

(Google Maps)

As for the true downtown areas? Those should primarily be your mom-and-pop businesses, the backbone of a local community.

As long as chain businesses don't take away from the charm of a small town or its small businesses, a community should embrace it.

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