What is a formula business?
People often ask if a formula business is the same thing as a chain store. While in everyday life, there are overlaps (e.g., Starbucks, Panera’s, Chico’s, American Eagle, etc.), in the context of the bylaw they are different. “Chains” refer to ownership and branch locations. “Formula business” refers to the formulaic features of any business, without regard to ownership or locations.
Since Article 29 focuses on a distinction between businesses that contribute uniqueness to our village centers’ character and those that contribute sameness, “formula business” is the term that is used. This criterion can be applied uniformly to all businesses, without regard to ownership or locations.
Concord defines a formula business as follows (Concord Zoning Bylaws, Section 1.3.10):
In other words, if a business has 15 or more locations with two or more identical features in each location, it would be considered a formula business. Importantly, the definition is based on standard features, and not on the name of a business, who owns it, or where it is located.