Large Chain Businesses
by Nick Horton, June 19, 2007

Eldersburg is home to many local and successful businesses that have been in the area for many years. Whether it is Hutchison’s Florist, Frank’s Pizza, or Salerno’s Catering, local businesses have been a defining feature of Eldersburg and the community surrounding it. These irreplaceable businesses are becoming overshadowed, however, with the arrival of many large chain businesses. Large department stores such as Wal-Mart have moved into the area over the years, taking away some of the business from local businesses. These large chains—Martin’s, Panera Bread, Quizno’s, Subway, Chili’s, Jiffy Lube, Safeway, Denny’s, Bob Evans, and soon Walgreen’s—all have become or will become the well-known stores in Eldersburg while longstanding local businesses fade into the background.

While some businesses such as Liberatore’s and E.W. Beck’s in Sykesville are still well-known and popular, it would seem that the younger generation of Eldersburg knows more about the big name stores. Eric Sheldon, a local high school senior who has lived in Eldersburg his entire life, claims that the popular stores are more teen friendly. “The Taco Bell’s and Wal-Mart type places are just more fun for people our age.”

It is hard to understand how this can be true. Lately, local high school students have made Panera Bread a local hangout. Teens claim that it is because of the environment and that they are able to do homework with their friends. This seems like a weak excuse; students have plenty of options with local restaurant businesses, all very accommodating. Many of the kids of this generation do not even realize that local places where they get their haircuts, pedicures, or high school dance flowers (corsages, etc.) are run by local members of the community.

Large businesses and corporations are good for the area; they encourage growth and draw more attention to Eldersburg. However, the local businesses which have helped Eldersburg grow and been a part of the community for years should not fade from the public view. These are the businesses that give back to the community whenever local events are held, or sponsor teams for the local recreation sports. Their commitment to Eldersburg extends beyond simply the service they provide through their business, but by helping the area surrounding them. That, most importantly, is what makes the local businesses so vital to Eldersburg. And that is something even the kids recognize. “The local businesses help our school paper each issue with ads,” said Sheldon. “It’s cool to finally have a paper in school thanks to the money raised by selling the ads to [local businesses]”.

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