For Business Travelers, Big Chains Often Offer Familiar Comforts Though he usually goes local, our business-travel columnist can find reasons to visit some uberbrands.
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Between frequenting my new favorite taco stand in Venice, getting my hair cut by a barber I stumbled across in Laguna Beach and downing a pot of Yunnan at an independent tea shop in Los Angeles, I had a travel epiphany in Southern California. I realized that I spend so much time seeking out the new, different and one-of-a-kind on my trips that I often fail to fully appreciate the regional and national brands I couldn't--or really rather wouldn't--do without.
Nobody is more supportive of small businesses and local ownership than I. Upset at the damage that big-box chains are doing to Main Street, U.S.A., or the affect that fast-food burgers are having on our nation's waistline? I feel your pain. But every national behemoth started out as a local merchant, and some still provide services that I can't find anywhere else--at least not without an intensive search. Consider: