I wanted to get away from using ntext and instead use varchar(4000) divided into several rows, to maintain performance. I wanted to put the logic of concatenating these rows in a stored proc. I realized though, after I did my post, that I will not be able to return a varchar. I would have to return a ntext. The "divide in several rows" strategy would then be of no use, since I would be using ntext anyway. I am now doing the "concatenating of strings" part in my code.