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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.

By Bruce Schoenfeld

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Chain Reaction

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:

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