This Might Be Why Vermont Doesn't Have Any Chick-Fil-As

Fans of Chick-fil-A might be accustomed to getting their chicken fix wherever they please. After all, according to a report from Restaurant Business, Chick-fil-A ranks as the third-largest restaurant chain in the U.S., topped only by McDonald's and Starbucks. Chick-fil-A fans, be warned: There are still a few states who haven't jumped on that chicken bandwagon, namely Alaska, Hawaii, and Vermont.

The fact that Alaska and Hawaii are on the list could be rationalized by their distance from the continental U.S. But why Vermont, when all the bordering states in New England, as well as New York, have Chick-fil-As to call their own? One particularly nasty lawsuit might be to blame.

NPR shares that Vermonter Robert Muller-Moore found himself caught up in a three-year legal battle with Chick-fil-A. He had a small, t-shirt screen-printing business, and his most popular shirt had the phrase "Eat More Kale." Chick-fil-A claimed the phrase was an infringement on their "Eat Mor Chikin" slogan and sued to prevent Muller-Moore from trademarking the phrase. Muller-Moore ultimately prevailed and won his trademark in 2014.

The New York Times reported that the legal battle rallied Vermonters and even Vermont's governor in support of Muller-Moore, and a social media campaign decried the Chick-fil-A lawsuit, which Muller-Moore called "corporate bullying." That's bound to leave a bad taste in the mouth in a state that's fiercely protective of its small business owners (via U.S. News & World Report).

Other favorite chains have gotten the cold shoulder in Vermont

Though the lawsuit certainly didn't help Chick-fil-A's prospects in Vermont, the truth is that Vermont has long been reluctant to embrace national chain stores and restaurants. Case in point: Vermont is the only state in the U.S. that doesn't have a McDonald's in its capital city of Montpelier. That doesn't mean that McDonald's didn't try, though. While the small population (less than 8,000) is not particularly attractive to national chains, News & Record shares that McDonald's once had its eye on a location just minutes from the Vermont State House. Montpelier residents objected to the idea, and to a "homogenization" of their city.

Target is another national chain that, amazingly, could not be found in Vermont until 2018. NPR says that the state's residents were long divided on the idea of allowing a Target store to open there. Another impediment was a law on Vermont's books has helped limit the number of large retail stores opening in the state, allowing local boards to reject businesses that would negatively affect the beauty and unique charm of Vermont towns. 

So in short, when you head to Vermont expect beautiful views, delicious craft beer, and Ben & Jerry's ice cream (via Only In Your State), but not to find Chick-fil-As or Targets on every corner.