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The Mom & Pop Store

How the Unsung Heroes of the American Economy Are Surviving and Thriving

Robert Spector


List Price: 26.00*
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Other Editions of This Title:
Paperback (8/31/2010)
MP3 CD (8/2/2016)

November 2009 Indie Next List

“Robert Spector presents a great vision of local, independent business and its crucial role in the national economy. This is a must-read for anyone interested in the future of unique communities.”
— Chuck Robinson, Village Books, Bellingham, WA
View the List


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.

Praise For The Mom & Pop Store: How the Unsung Heroes of the American Economy Are Surviving and Thriving

“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

Walker Books, 9780802716057, 304pp.

Publication Date: September 15, 2009

About the Author

Robert Spector is author of The Nordstrom Way, The Nordstrom Way to Customer Service Excellence, Amazon. Com: Get Big Fast, and Category Killers. He has appeared on C NN, C NBC, ABC, Fox News, PBS, Bloomberg Business, NPR's Marketplace Report, and numerous other radio shows, and has written on business for the Wall Street Journal and USA Today. He lives in Seattle. Visit his Web site at