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Bloomington chamber weighs in on chain-store ban

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The Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce is opposing Mayor Mark Kruzan’s proposal to restrict chain stores and restaurants downtown.

“We see no evidence of an imminent or future threat to the vitality of the downtown–nor a compelling argument of similar nature–that would justify restricting chain or formula businesses in the downtown,” chamber CEO Christy Gillenwater said in a prepared statement released Wednesday morning.

The chamber said it surveyed more than 850 members. Approximately 170 surveys, or 20 percent, were returned.

Among those businesses that responded, 70 percent opposed “any sort of ban on chains or formula businesses in downtown Bloomington,” the chamber stated.

The chamber has been tracking the issue since Kruzan mentioned it in his state-of-the-city address earlier this year.

Kruzan would like to see national restaurant and retail chains banned from streets facing the historic courthouse square, as well as Kirkwood Avenue, from Sample Gates to the square.

Kruzan has not yet put a formal proposal before the Plan Commission, which would be the first stop before a City Council vote.

“Through this survey, we heard directly from the businesses and individuals who make up our membership–businesses of all sizes, including those considered local business,” Gillenwater said.

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