You’ll find a lot of things in Ojai, (pronounced ‘O hi’) Calif., the quaint little town nestled between hills and mountains 85 miles northwest of Los Angeles. Filled with shops and art galleries and boasting miles of hiking trails, the town is a place to get away from it all. In fact it is known for its many spiritual retreats.  I spent part of my vacation last summer in Ojai and having never been there before, I was taken aback by its charm.

Westridge Market is one of two independent grocery stores in Ojai

But one thing you won’t find in Ojai is chain stores or at least not many. In 2007 in order to maintain Ojai’s unique charm and to foster small business growth, the City Council adopted an ordinance that completely rules out fast-food restaurants and prohibits big box stores. While existing chains are allowed to stay, future chain stores have to meet strict criteria in the downtown area.

It wasn’t only the city council that wanted to preserve Ojai’s uniqueness. Residents did too. Seems everyone in Ojai takes pride in the city’s reputation as a town where you won’t find a Starbucks.

Barts Books in Ojai

Do you know of any other towns that are as supportive of small business owners as Ojai? We’d love to hear about them.

We’d also love to about the craziest spot where you’ve had a business call. Share your story with us and your name will be entered for a chance to win a Marque 2™ Bluetooth® headset.  Enter to win: