I rather like this article from The Atlantic, arguing that the typical arguments against chain stores are misplaced. Among other things, it cites a planning consultant who finds that the aesthetes all hate Pottery Barn because it’s a chain and therefore dehumanizing, but that if you show them pictures of a Pottery Barn with a different name on it they all love it.
In bustling, growing towns, “rollouts of established stores allow retail variety to expand as fast as the growing population can support new businesses…. Chains let people in a city of 250,000 enjoy retail amenities once available only in a huge metropolitan center.”
Worth a read! (Thanks to Artur Oczko for the link.)