Random thought: How many Whole Foods do you have vs how many Subaru dealers? It’s meaningless, but still interesting. Birmingham’s Portland Ratio is now stabilized at 1.0 (2:2) since our second Subie dealer opened. All is in balance!
Bigger thought: We’ve been considering relocating over the past year, and some of the things I look for as a proxy for affluence, convenience, and/or general infrastructure are the following retailers...even if I don’t shop at them much. So far it’s been pretty reliable to help get a feel for somewhere you haven’t been before.
1. Grocery stores: Publix, Walmart Neighborhood Market*, Sprouts, Whole Foods, Fresh Market, Earth Fare. Maybe Trader Joe’s.
2. General Retail: Costco (I hate them, but again it’s a proxy), REI, Lowe’s/HD, Homegoods, and TJ Maxx. At least one department store that isn’t Sears, JCP or Macy’s.
3. Car dealers: Mercedes, Audi, Lexus; but at least 1-2 VW and Honda shops, too, just to demonstrate some balance.
*Neighborhood Market only...Supercenters are often the opposite result.