Independent America: The Two Lane Search

I watched this excellent documentary on The Sundance Channel a few days ago in which two journalists drove across the country twice on two lane highways, eating nothing but food that was not from any chain restaurant and staying in inns, hotels, and motels that were not part of any chain.  Along the way, they discuss the ways in which chains like Starbucks, McDonald’s, Borders, and Wal-Mart are helping to slowly destroy the small, independent business owner in America and offer some solutions that are already working in communities across the country.

My husband and I have been doing our best over the past few years to do locally what these journalists did nationally, and we’re going to try to do an Independent Trip when we drive out to Chicago.  We already shop at the local grocery store, and because we live near farms, many of the people in our area are able to get their produce (organic) from local providers.  Of course, it is more dificult to shop independently in cities or in some rural areas that have already had corporate take-overs. 


12 Responses to “Independent America: The Two Lane Search”

  1. 1 Deb
    July 15, 2007 at 4:44 pm

    I would like to see that doc. I have Sundance. I’ll check out the program listings. I also try to support the small business in my community. There is nothing like that warm welcoming feeling when shopping or eating in a family run business.

  2. 2 Rue
    July 15, 2007 at 5:17 pm

    Hey..So I saw and came!
    I work at an All Canadian store similar to Walmart. Here in Canada we try to make our emphasis on Canadian made as it seems to be more of a crisis to us to lose everything to American Companies.

  3. July 15, 2007 at 5:57 pm

    The town I used to live in, Chico, California, used to take frequenting small business seriously. They ran Wendys out of downtown, and tried to do the same with Starbucks but failed. Locals make a strong effort to keep local businesses in business. They actually managed to keep a 2nd Wal-Mart from opening, but the damage has been done with the first one opened.

    I’ll update my blogroll to reflect your new site. Heh, it seems like everyone’s moving to WordPress. I like it much better than blogger.

  4. July 16, 2007 at 7:08 am

    The laws in Montpelier, Vermont have been wonderful for keeping the stranglers out of the city.

    Too bad that the “free” marketers of Chimpledom prefer Stalinist collectivization over healthy competition.

  5. 5 unitedwelay1
    July 16, 2007 at 12:00 pm

    Dr. Deb,
    If there’s ever one that I mention and you can’t get, I would be happy to copy it and mail it to you! We love fsmily-owned businesses. It’s one of the reasons we moved further out of town. most of ourshopping is done at family places, and we try to go to non-commercial theaters when we can. Tight Wad Tuesdays cost $4 a ticket.

    I’ve heard from ralatives living in Canada that this is an issue. Still, I would rather live in a place with Universal Health Care (by the way, would you be interested in doing a guest post on the pitfalls of the Canadian System?) and where my child isn’t bobmarded by advertisements for things that aren’t good for him.

    We need to see more of that. today I am interviewing for a small, independent school that will pay me much less than what I’m worth because I like the atmosphere of the place. Not only that, but I’ve been offered a job in which I’ll be paid more, but I’m practically going into that interview today BEGGING for them to give me a position. Free market education is the way and the light.

    I’m not sure I understand what you mean. Please explain collectivization and what it means to you.

  6. July 16, 2007 at 6:47 pm

    I travel that way whenever possible. Not for any political or environmental reasons but because I just enjoy it. The food is better at mom and pop restaurants by far and even though it costs more to shop at non-chain stores, I hate the crowds and thus am willing to pay more to avoid them. Not surprisingly, Wal-Mart and other box stores are getting labeled with selling cheap quality goods too and thus you are money ahead to buy something better made that will last a lot longer.

  7. July 16, 2007 at 7:59 pm

    Nice new digs here, United. I updated you in my blogroll. Don’t forget me. 😉

  8. 8 unitedwelay1
    July 16, 2007 at 9:44 pm

    all set, Tomacat. It’s taking me a few days to get this all together. It’s harder to do with a 10 month old.

  9. July 18, 2007 at 6:10 am

    Also because the box stores try to be all things to all people and carry just smidgens of lots of things, your choices are actually more limited than if you shop a hardware store, a grocery store, a clothing store etc. separately. So what you might save in price (and most really aren’t cheaper), you have to spend on gas to go to the second place to finish your shopping.

    Also don’t believe the adage that you should eat where the truckers eat. They eat where they can park their trucks and some are horrible.

  10. 10 unitedwelay1
    July 18, 2007 at 9:38 am

    That’s a good point. Your choices are limited, and we’re all buying the same things. No one has anything unique or different anymore. We’re becoming more and more conformist, even in our shopping habits. It’s scary.

  11. September 20, 2007 at 10:14 am


    I am the producer of Independnet America – The Two Lane Search for Mom & Pop. I came across this blog and was encouraged to see that people have seen the film and that it is having an effect on how we all look at a very serious issue. I wanted to let everyone know that the film can be purchased on our site at http://www.independentamerica.net and that there is a lot of information/content that you will find of interest there.

    Thanks for your support!

    Tom Powers

  12. 12 unitedwelay1
    September 21, 2007 at 5:36 pm

    Wow! Thanks so much for stopping by. The documentary was very well put together and incredibly inspiring!

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I am not perfect. I do my best to practice what I preach, but I am human. My mantra is, "DO NO HARM". I may not always succeed, but I will always try. My goal is to be a better person today than I was yesterday.

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