• WisBusiness

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Book review: "The Mom & Pop Store"


By Terri Schlichenmeyer
“The Mom & Pop Store” by Robert Spector
c.2009, Bloomsbury $26.00 / $32.50 Canada 304 pages

You had something specific in mind to give as a gift this year, but you couldn’t find what you were looking for.

You could picture the item in your mind. You looked in all the big stores and the usual places around town but you had no luck. Then – just as you were about to give up – you saw exactly what you wanted in a small shop tucked off the beaten path. And you got personal service when you bought it.

Where would we be without local, independent retailers? Author Robert Spector says we need those merchants now more than ever, and in “The Mom & Pop Store”, he explains why.

When he was a child growing up in Perth Amboy, New Jersey, Robert Spector’s father owned a meat market. Every Friday morning, Fred Spector rose before dawn to open a store in a nearby town; Saturday mornings were spent closer to home in an open building where women in babushkas bought food for the week.

Starting after his bar mitzvah, Spector says he was forced to work at Spector’s Meat Market alongside his father, uncles, and cousins. He hated it. He couldn’t wait to get away.

But as an adult, Spector says he began noticing independent retailers and “mom & pop stores”, so-called because they’re generally family-owned. This not only brought forth pleasant memories, but it made him want to explore that which had suddenly become important to him.

As they have been for centuries, mom & pop stores are important parts of their neighborhoods and our economy. They’re a foot in the door for immigrants who want to start a new life in their adopted country. They serve as models of customer service. And because they’re locally owned, they’re usually run by a family with strong ties to the community. In fact, says Spector, “Ninety percent of all U.S. businesses are family owned or controlled.”

So what if you want to become an independent retailer? Own your customers, and do everything possible to make them happy, Spector says. Be known for “insane” customer service. Be willing to work harder than you’ve ever worked in your life. Be flexible and able to change with your clientele and your neighborhood.

“The Mom & Pop Store” is an odd duck of a book. About the first third is biographical, in which author Robert Spector muses nostalgically about Perth Amboy and the way it was fifty years ago. He recalls small details of his family’s business, his forebears’ lives and their immigration to America, and his own childhood. That’s interesting, but it’s not why you’d want to read this book.

Where Spector shines is in his interviews with independent retailers from many different kinds of businesses and walks of life, including a third-generation Japanese jeweler, fourth-generation meat marketers, and long-time bookstore owners with no prior retail experience.

If you’re a big supporter of small shops and stores, or if you’re pondering your own retail endeavor, check this book out. “The Mom & Pop Store” is one to find ... locally.

-- Schlichenmeyer has been reading since she was three years old and she never goes anywhere without a book. She lives on a hill in Wisconsin with two dogs and 11,000 books.

Labels:


Comments: 0

Post a Comment

Back to BizOpinion main page

: See newer blog items : : See older blog items :

BizOpinion site feed
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

wisbusiness.com Social News

Follow Us

Site Sponsors

ARCHIVE

· January 2009
· February 2009
· March 2009
· April 2009
· May 2009
· June 2009
· July 2009
· August 2009
· September 2009
· October 2009
· November 2009
· December 2009
· January 2010
· February 2010
· March 2010
· April 2010
· May 2010
· June 2010
· July 2010
· August 2010
· September 2010
· October 2010
· November 2010
· December 2010
· January 2011
· February 2011
· March 2011
· April 2011
· May 2011
· June 2011
· July 2011
· August 2011
· September 2011
· October 2011
· November 2011
· December 2011
· January 2012
· February 2012
· March 2012
· April 2012
· May 2012
· June 2012
· July 2012
· August 2012
· September 2012
· October 2012
· November 2012
· December 2012
· January 2013
· February 2013
· March 2013
· April 2013
· May 2013
· June 2013
· July 2013
· August 2013
· September 2013
· October 2013
· November 2013
· December 2013
· January 2014
· February 2014
· March 2014
· April 2014
· May 2014
· June 2014
· July 2014
· August 2014
· September 2014
· October 2014
· November 2014
· December 2014
· January 2015
· February 2015
· March 2015
· April 2015
· May 2015
· June 2015
· July 2015
· August 2015
· September 2015
· October 2015
· November 2015
· December 2015
· January 2016
· February 2016
· March 2016
· April 2016
· May 2016
· July 2016
· August 2016
· October 2016
· December 2016
Copyright ©2013 WisBusiness.com All rights reserved. | WisOpinion.com | WisPolitics.com  |  Website development by wisnet.com LLC  | Website design by Makin’ Hey Communications