What has driven the amazing growth of the big box concept in retailing? Selection? Price? Volume? Yes three times. Yet as we watch the demise and troubles of many smaller local venues (read about the Jefferson Market, in the NY Times online), it is obvious what we are missing when we frequent the big boxes: personal service. I’m not talking about Customer Care served up by a corporate training video, I’m talking about service by someone who knows you by face, perhaps name, and past purchase context.
Mom and Pop shops are owned and operated by neighbors. To succeed they have to pay attention. Mom and Pops are people not interchangeable sales automatons, they are good listeners and recommenders and in an emergency they are there for you. Mom and Pops are the fabric of America’s commercial strength.
As we begin to bail out the Lehmans and the AIGs, let’s remember the local mom and pop stores in our communities. Peace!