There is an ongoing discussion in Provo right now about the commercial fabric of downtown. Some people think it should be populated by small, independent retailers. Others would like to bring in big name stores. I fall somewhere in the middle.
But today The Atlantic ran a short piece on new research that suggests towns with more mom and pop businesses are healthier. The article states:
“Counties with more small businesses tend to have lower rates of mortality, obesity, and diabetes, while those with more large retailers tend to post higher rates of these poor-health indicators. The authors explain that communities with thriving small businesses may be more likely to support bond issues for health infrastructures, recruit physicians, push for local anti-smoking legislation, promote community health programs, and support local farmers’ markets.”
The article also points out that the benefits of having small businesses go “beyond economics.” As Provo grows and seeks to revitalize it’s commercial sector, then, it’s worth remembering the importance of small businesses to the vibrancy of the community.