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Main Street districts provide what online merchants can’t

I’d like to respond to Margery Eagan’s complaints about large consumer companies in her Dec. 3 op-ed “I’m engaged in an evil enterprise with every click, and I can’t stop.”

The amount of press, both positive and negative, that these large out-of-state companies receive every day from the media unfairly harms our communities. There is a better solution to Eagan’s sarcastic suggestions to go to other Internet sites or to head to the mall.

Right in our backyards are hard-working entrepreneurs who give back to our communities, employing thousands and creating wealth and sustainability. A shift from Internet shopping does not mean going to the mall, which Eagan hates. The answer is shopping in local business districts.


In Boston there are 20 Main Street districts, where thousands of locally owned small businesses flourish, as well as Main Street locations across the Commonwealth and business districts in almost every city and town. Supporting local storefront businesses creates stronger neighborhoods, increases tax revenue, improves the environment, and deepens the bond between our merchants and communities. Supporting online consumer commerce does none of this.

Gerald Robbins


The writer is the executive director of Hyde Jackson Square Main Street.