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The Mom & Pop Store: True Stories from the Heart of America [NOOK Book]


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.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...
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The Mom & Pop Store: True Stories from the Heart of America

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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.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 stores, at shops that are not super-sized, but human-sized, and responding to the growing "buy local" movement across the country, Spector set 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 Washington State, 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.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Spector (Category Killers) offers a love letter to American small-business people, in particular his beloved, hardworking father, a neighborhood butcher. A tribute to local merchants, depicted as independent, passionate and persistent and the guardians of our most basic and enduring commercial bond, the book presents a broad, intriguing history of the 90% of all modern-day U.S. businesses, which are family-owned or controlled, and their neighborhood-defining, community-building, ethics-based contribution to the American way of life. Spector touches on such examples of small-business successes as Rob Kaufelt of Murray's Cheese in New York's Greenwich Village, but his book truly sings when the author 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.” (Sept.)
Library Journal
In this uplifting read, Spector (The Nordstrom Way) aims to show what life looks like "from the other side of the counter" in mom-and-pop stores—small, independent businesses—and to help us appreciate the service these types of shops offer our society. The son of a butcher, Spector spends the first section of the book telling the story of his own family's mom-and-pop store, including its immigrant beginnings. Then he follows with stories from interviews he held with proprietors of mom-and-pop stores across the country, also offering tips on customer service and life lessons learned by those who grew up around their family's small business. The third section of the book is devoted to the role of these stores in the community, showing how they enrich the lives of those in their geographical areas. VERDICT Readers who are feeling discouraged about the encroachment of big-box stores into their region will be delighted to hear stories of family businesses that are holding their local communities together by serving customers in the old-fashioned way: one person at a time.—Elizabeth L. Winter, Georgia Inst. of Technolgy, Atlanta
Kirkus Reviews
There's no business like small business in this study of the retail sector. Growing up in Perth Amboy, N.J., veteran business journalist Spector (The Nordstrom Way to Customer Service Excellence, 2005, etc.) worked with his grandfather, uncle and parents in the family butcher shop. There he learned both the struggles and rewards of running a small business and began a lifelong fascination with independent retailing. Spector saw in his family, quoting Emerson, a "tenacity of purpose." Through passion, persistence and scrupulous honesty the business would succeed in the face of any challenge, from supermarket competition to the economic decline of the neighborhood. He saw that the shop was more than a place to buy meat, but also a neighborhood institution where customers could gossip, joke and feel at home. With these lessons in mind, Spector set off on a "retail odyssey," traveling around the country-and the world-to document the experiences of other small businesses. Whether it was a grocery store in Los Angeles, a fruit stand in Miami, a tea shop in Tokyo or a hat store in London, the same values of hard work and optimism applied. 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. After being unable to compete with the big chains, the L.A. grocery store became a specialty store selling hundreds of brands of soda not found anywhere else in the city. Along the way, Spector interweaves a never-boring history of retailing-the first retail shops were created by the Lydians in present-day Turkey in 650 BCE-and the origins of currency, credit and trade laws. Lively lessons about businessethics and practices that Fortune 500 companies, the author suggests, would be wise to follow. Agent: Elizabeth Wales/Wales Literary Agency
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780802779113
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
  • Publication date: 9/7/2010
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 304
  • Product dimensions: 6.12 (w) x 9.25 (h) x 1.00 (d)
  • File size: 584 KB

Meet 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 the National Business Report, CNN, CNBC, Fox News, Bloomberg Business, CNET, CEO Exchange, NPR's Marketplace Report, and numerous other radio shows. He has written on business for the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, UPI International, NASDAQ Magazine, Customer Service Management, and Corporate University Review; on fashion for Women's Wear Daily and Details, and civil liberties for Parade. He gives dozens of talks every year to business organizations and groups.
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 11, 2013

    Not as expected

    I bought this book for my husband for Christmas. I thought it would be perfect for him. The one big disappointment was NO PICTURES! I feel pictures of these old Mom & Pop stores would of made the book more interesting.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 26, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews

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