The Mom & Pop Store
How the Unsung Heroes of the American Economy Are Surviving and Thriving
By Robert Spector
Walker & Company, Hardcover, 9780802716057, 304pp.
Publication Date: September 15, 2009
List Price: $26.00*
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A celebration of the history of small, independent retail and the story of how mom & pop stores across the country still thrive on attentive customer service and renewed community support for local businesses.
Business journalist Robert Spector grew up working in his family's butcher shop in Perth Amboy, New Jersey, where he learned invaluable lessons about the independent retail business-and about life. Mom & pop stores have always brought people together, fostering a sense of neighborhood identity and camaraderie, and are the glue that connects people in big cities and small towns alike.
Long fascinated by the "direct connection" people feel as merchants and customers when they do business in neighborhood shops, and responding to the growing "buy local" movement across the country, Spector sets out to discover the state, and the state of mind, of independent retailing in America. From a specialty soda pop shop in Los Angeles to a florist shop in Dayton, Ohio, from a bakery in Chicago to a bookstore in Bellingham, Washington, mom & pop store owners shared their stories with him, revealing the spirit and tenacity of the small business owner, dealing with frustration and defeat as well as triumph and success. Spector also interweaves the history of independent retailing. "The Mom & Pop Store "reflects the story of this country, for it embraces and cross-references every ethnic group and virtually every element of our society.
“The stories that Spector has gathered are cheering testimonials to the value of hard work and creative retailing, heartwarming in this day of conglomerates…. Readers who enjoy Capra-esque stories about plucky general merchandising outfits run by colorful individualists will enjoy Spector's book.”—The Cleveland Plain Dealer
"Spector offers a love letter to American small-business people...his book truly sings when [he] recounts his childhood spent in his family's butcher shop and the practical wisdom he gleaned at his father's knee. Cheerful and charming, this is a heartfelt look at life on 'the other side of the counter.'"—Publishers Weekly
“The most intriguing parts of the book chronicle the struggle of each business to survive in a retail environment in which small businesses must adapt or fail…. Lively lessons about business ethics and practices that Fortune 500 companies, the author suggests, would be wise to follow.”—Kirkus Reviews