Why America Needs Mom & Pop Businesses

For we who grew up during Depression and World War II years, there’s something disappearing from the American scene we miss very much. It’s the small neighborhood store.

We remember it as cracker barrel homey, presided over by friendly moms and pops who lived in the back or upstairs. They knew where every item was, and could tell you exactly how useful each would be for home or health. Just about everything they sold in those days was made in America.

If you were buying hardware, they’d recommend the exact right paint color for your fence, because they were familiar with where you lived. If a clothing store, they’d tell what your teen should wear to the prom.

In a vintage drugstore, the owner made your flu medication from scratch with his mortar and pestle. While waiting for the prescription to be filled, his wife prepared a 15-cent ice cream soda for you.

Those kinds of shops are hard to find these days, even in small towns. Until recently the big box stores dominated the landscape. Unlike mom and pop stores, contact with each customer was by bored minimum-wage clerks.

The big box stores and their foreign suppliers were not content to just compete with smaller American retailers and manufacturers. Their plan was to destroy them, and by the depressing statistics on lost jobs and lost mom and pop stores, their plan worked.

However, now the big box stores are suffering the same fate they caused. With ever-improving on-line purchasing and delivery systems, more and more people stay home and buy with simple clicks of their smartphones.

So, next time you need hardware or clothing, patronize a mom and pop store. Look at the label to see if the item was made in America. When you buy it, you’ll know you’re helping our economy.

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