It seems like every week I get at least one e-mail about yet another boutique and/or fashion business closing. Yesterday the Tribune took a closer look at two of the areas hit hardest by recession, the Armitage Avenue shopping corridor in Lincoln Park and Southport Avenue around Irving Park and Addison.

The main problem is neatly defined in this sentence: “The irony is that even as Americans eat up bargains, they often resent big-box stores for taking away the unique nature of their communities—from Starbucks to Wal-Mart to McDonald’s.”