Just like in Cambridge, Madison’s creative class has left the national chain-infiltrating main town center in search of more affordable housing and unique independent merchants in more creative, entrepreneurial neighborhoods.
Those Madison neighborhoods would be Willy Street, about a mile away, and Atwood, another mile down the road. While they have less than a tenth of State Street’s retail, they are no chains and the sense of community is extremely high. Co-ops seemed to be the norm, from bookstores to bakeries. The most significant one is the Willy Street Co-op supermarket, which residents seem willing to trade off cutthroat low prices for healthier selections; support for the local economy; and familiar faces.