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Andersonville Study of Retail Economics

During the Spring of 2004, ADC and the Andersonville Chamber of Commerce engaged the help of a consulting firm called Civic Economics to evaluate the economic impact of the neighborhood’s locally-owned businesses. The economic impacts were determined for 10 participating local businesses and then compared to the impacts of ten chain stores. To account for differences in revenue and size, those impacts were adjusted to two measures: impact per $100 in revenue and impact per square foot. This analysis revealed that:

Locally-owned businesses generate a substantial Local Premium in enhanced economic impact.
  • For every $100 in consumer spending with a local firm, $68 remains in the Chicago economy.
  • For every $100 in consumer spending with a chain firm, $43 remains in the Chicago economy.
  • For every square foot occupied by a local firm, local economic impact is $179.
  • For every square foot occupied by a chain firm, local economic impact is $105.
Consumers surveyed on the streets of Andersonville strongly prefer the neighborhood over agglomerations of common chain stores.
  • More than 70% prefer to patronize locally-owned businesses.
  • More than 80% prefer traditional urban business districts.
  • More than 10% of respondents reside outside the City of Chicago.
The study suggests clear policy implications.
  • Local merchants generate substantially greater economic impact than chain firms.
  • Replacement of local businesses with chains will reduce the overall vigor of the local economy.
  • Changes in consumer spending habits can generate substantial local economic impact.
  • Great care must be taken to ensure that public policy decisions do not inadvertently disadvantage locally owned businesses. Indeed, it may be in the best interests of communities to institute policies that directly protect them.
You can learn more about the Andersonville Study of retail economics, its findings, and methodology at



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