I live in a small town in Ohio with vibrant small businesses. I think the ones that do best (and some come through town and close) are ones with local connections. They are often a bit pricier than chains, but I would go to them because they are recommended, hire local/full-time people, have references from everyone I know, etc. I think this would be harder to break into. On the other hand, I know people (professor and social worker) who opened the Goshen Brewing Co. in Goshen Indiana, a city that has really supported their venture. That city is a bit bigger, and they had connections there, but it seemed like an easier place to break into than where I live.