Independent Businesses Improve Their Neighborhoods

Neighborhoods with thriving independently-owned businesses boost home values 50 percent more than their cities’ overall home values, the American Express OPEN Independent Retail Index shows. The study, conducted over 20 years from 1990 to 2009, examines small businesses and their impact on national, city and neighborhood levels.

Market share for independents declined compared to chains. For retail businesses, market share declined 11 percent, from 59 percent in 1990 to 48 percent in 2009. Interestingly, the declines leveled out or began to rebound in 2002, the study’s charts show.

Boston, Atlanta and Miami independents held on to their market shares most, declining 5 percent for Boston and 6 percent in Atlanta and Miami.

“These [independent-dominated] business districts aren’t just places to shop or eat. They are community amenities that the market values highly. Just living near one provides increases in property value well beyond the broader market. They are community employment centers, too, bringing jobs into established neighborhoods where people live and transit works,” the study’s authors conclude.

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