Friday, April 07, 2006

Amazing what you can get away with

Island says no to chain stores downtown
Nantucket rule needs attorney general's OK

By Jenna Russell, Globe Staff

NANTUCKET -- Chain stores, take notice: This remote island enclave has pulled up its drawbridge.

Without a word of discussion or debate this week, Nantucket Town Meeting voters banned retail stores and restaurants owned by national chains from their quaint downtown of brick sidewalks and cobblestone streets.

The ban is believed to be the most sweeping exclusion of chain businesses to date in Massachusetts, according to island officials. The decision follows votes in a growing number of communities around the country to banish fast-food chains, including Ogunquit, Maine, last fall. A new rule on Nantucket must be approved by Attorney General Thomas F. Reilly before it takes effect.

On Nantucket's Main Street yesterday, where shoppers can still order an egg cream at the old-fashioned lunch counter in Congdon's Pharmacy, many shopkeepers and customers said they were pleased with the outcome.

''Part of the reason people live here is that it's a tightknit community and we can support our friends' businesses," said Beth Simonsis, 39. ''If we need something from a big store, like at Christmas, we go off island."

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