The Debate Between Local vs. Corporate Businesses Continues

Is IHOP in Athens Affecting Union Street Diner’s Business?

In recent months, the city of Athens has added multiple chain restaurants to their town, one being the infamous pancake house, IHOP.

This has caused mixed emotions in the community since Athens has a strong foundation built on locally run businesses.

Athens locals seem to really enjoy one local diner in particular, The Union Street Diner.

Natalie Townsend, who has lived in Athens for a few years, says she would never prefer IHOP over USD, for several reasons.

“Throughout my college career, I’ve had a lot of memories inside USD. I have a lot of good memories there with my friends, I love their food, and I love the local feel to it,” Townsend said.

However, Emily Wyenandt, who has lived in Athens for only a year, says she doesn’t really have a preference over the two.

“I usually base my decision on where I’m going to eat off of location, and price. I live closer to IHOP than I do USD, and they both have the same food basically. I’d give either place my business,” she said. My roommates did a blind taste test between the two restaurants!

Athens President of Chamber of Commerce, Michelle Oestrike, said she doesn’tthink IHOP will affect local diners, including the Union Street Diner.

“They are over three miles apart from one another,” she said. “One restaurant caters much more towards a driving crowd while the other caters to a walking crowd.”

Oestrike said many of the long term residents have made Union Street a “staple” in their lives, and while they might visit the new IHOP, they certainly won’t stop going to Union Street.

Even though Oestrike thinks the new pancake house is a good addition for the economy and competition reasons, she still believes supporting local businesses like Union Street Diner is important.

“Local businesses are the backbone of our community!” she said. “I also think it’s important to note that many of our chain stores and restaurants are owned and operated by life-long residents of Athens County and they contribute to the success of Athens as well.”

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