Inderscience Publishers

The threat of chain stores to the character of an historic city's main street

This paper looks at the main street of an historic tourism city, King Street, Charleston, South Carolina that in recent years has seen a steady transition in its tenant mix; from one historically populated by local merchants, to one that today 'boasts' of such merchants as Saks Fifth Avenue, Victoria's Secret and Banana Republic, among many other national and international brand outlets. The issue considered herein, through a collection of interviews with local community and industry stakeholders, is the effect of downtown's changing landscape upon the city's residents and the tourism trade. The findings offer insight that should be helpful to city officials in any community experiencing, or concerned about, a similar metamorphous.

Keywords: urban development, tourism management, tourists, retail industry, retailing, sustainable development, destination competitiveness, main street, historic buildings, Charleston, South Carolina, USA, United States, neighbourhood character, tenant mix, local merchants, Saks Fifth Avenue, Victoria', s Secret, Banana Republic, shops, shopping, brand outlets, stakeholders, downtown, urban landscapes, chain stores, business, globalisation, multidisciplinary perspectives, sustainability

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