I finished driving from the southwest corner to the northeast corner of Kansas. 600 miles and ten hours later, I hadn't found a single independent place to eat lunch or dinner. Chains were still running in the towns I went through but the mom and pop places were closed down, for sale or empty. Nothing. The only independent places I found still operating were the bars and many of them were doing pretty good business at 11am.
Is this a sign of the times?
People want to buy the same junk wherever they go. They don't want to try to independent place that may have the best BBQ or burger that they will ever have in their life. Instead they miss out. What if they don't like it? There is a risk in trying new places but in reality, the risk is even greater in always going to the big cookie cutter chains. They go to the chain where the staff is paid lower wages and the money is sent out of the local economy to a big corporation that pays lower taxes. Less jobs, less money, less local healthy food and less of a reason for someone to stop in their town. It is a downward spiral for small towns and rural America.
What do you think? Do you try local places when you travel?