The Corner Store as an Element of Smart Growth
The paper focuses on the use of corner stores. It addressed the questions on whether corner stores were still viable even in the era of many supermarkets, bargain outlets and malls and if residents still accepted corner stores to be put up in their streets. The study was carried out in Canton. At the time when the Canton Company was erected, it was typical that corner stores were provided in Baltimore. When industries started closing, the population declined thus implying corner stores business loss and many had to close down. What followed this was a different lifestyle in Canton where other residents moved in and most of them were professionals. This then meant a change in the housing and buildings in Canton including the change of the corner stores to shops, health centers and art galleries.
The need to question about the existence of corner stores comes because of the changes that have occurred resulting to elimination of the advantages associated with neighborhood. Where there is mobility increase, better incomes, wide goods selection and reduced prices thus encouraging people to shop far from the neighborhoods. Because of increased mobility in Canton, neighborhood stores lost market. However, the corner stores did not varnish completely. A research in 2005 showed the existence of 123 corner stores in Canton (Brower, 2007).
This was carried out in two parts which are the survey on residents and interviews carried out with those who owned and managed the corner stores. From the survey that was carried out by use of questionnaires and pictures, it was revealed that the people liked the presence of corner stores in the streets and they did not have the same liking for all stores. The residents rated the stores on the basis of function and appearance but most of them laid their basis on appearance. According to the residents, to provide for smart growth, corner stores should be run well and especially by the local residents. Thus, they would be convenient since they would lead to an increase in neighborliness, help tax base and thus result to growth in the neighborhood. Independent stores also contribute greatly towards the improvement of the local economy. In Canton, there has also been a court case on the problems of corner stores but the residents lost.
The management and ownership of the corner stores showed that they felt good about operating in residential streets. Following their operation, some of the owners of corner stores involve in community work for example making contributions to schools, talking to local groups and donating merchandise during meetings held locally. Therefore, these are essential towards the local growth and further, they offer employment to the locals. To further implement smart growth, corner stores should be included even in neighborhoods in the urban areas. This can be achieved with the acceptance and support of cities. For example, in Santa Monica, they are permitted in the zones of residence.
Brower, S. (2007). The corner store as an element of smart growth. Conference paper. Retrieved on February 21, 2011 from: http://www.rff.org/rff/Events/upload/30226_1.pdf.
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