I think it’s telling that most of the surviving local businesses are the ones who really cared about being better than the chains. Too many act like you owe them your business just because they’re the local option.
Even worse, some go out of their way to send people away. The bookstore and butcher display their Christianity, but they don’t beat you over the head with it. I go to both of them regularly because they’re run by great people.
The local BBQ place plays Fox News on the TV. I go to the regional chain (Shane’s Rib Shack) for BBQ. I don’t like ESPN any better, but at least it’s not offensive.
The local Radio Shack doesn’t gouge on cables, and the staff is knowledgeable. I go there for electronic stuff.
The local produce stand is run by a guy who knows everyone he gets produce from. He’s polite, knowledgeable, and charges fair prices. I go there for fruit and vegetables.
The manager for the regional supermarket chain is always walking around the store keeping an eye on things, knows where his stock comes from, and the service desk never quibbles on returns and exchanges. I shop there.
Let’s focus on doing business with people who act responsibly. That will tend to favor locally owned and operated businesses, even if they’re part of larger chains.