May 4, 2005--Large chain stores and strip malls may dominate today's business landscape, but a recent survey found that locally-owned "mom and pop" businesses still have an emotional bond with American consumers, scoring high marks for friendly and knowledgeable customer service.

The survey, commissioned by The UPS Store and Mail Boxes Etc., determined that 93 percent of Americans say that a desire to support local ownership of small businesses factors into their buying decisions.

According to Bill Dunkelberg of the National Federation of Independent Business, this tendency to support local owners is a reaction to the role these businesses play in the community. "Small businesses depend on the local community, so they are the ones investing in the little league teams and supporting the church groups and charities. They are a part of the neighborhood, so it is no surprise that people are more willing to do their business with these establishments."

Apart from the ties local owners have to the community, consumers also appreciate the high level of customer service these businesses provide. Seventy-seven percent of those surveyed rated small businesses "excellent" or "good" at providing courteous service. 74% rated them "excellent" or "good" for being knowledgeable and professional.