Big-box stores such as Wal-Mart might present a threat to local businesses, but there are still some factors that may cause consumers to favor local shops over the competition. Local companies create a unique atmosphere within the community, help to power the local economy and sell a diverse array of products, according to the Institute for Local Self Reliance. "My point of view on this is that there is no room to compete in pricing. There has to be something else that makes the buyer seek the smaller retailer," says Virgilio Rubini, owner of ChocoStyle.

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