I too think WJ’s comments are excellent, but as I have pointed out before, local places can and will survive if they have something special to offer. I can (and have) listed many examples of places that have thrived in the face of chain invasion and have outlasted some of the competition!
I had also read a point/counter point discussion regarding the evil empire of starbucks. It pointed out that many of the "mom & pop" coffee places supposedly put out of business by starbucks only existed because of starbucks. Before starbucks brought the "coffee house" to places they didn’t exist, these mom & pop places didn’t exist. They came about because they saw a good idea, and closed up when the big pusher of that concept finally caught up with them. Not passing judgement on whether this is right or wrong…I just found it interesting.