The Mom & Pop Store has a special place in my heart. I grew up in a small farm and garden store, crawling across bags of pig and horse feed for fun, making castles out of bales of peat moss, using stock tanks for swimming pools.
So, when the idea came to write a book on the Mom & Pop Store Legacy across Green Country and Route 66….I was all over it. I’ve met with several small business owners and the reaction is overwhelming. With the onslaught of box store mentality, many small businesses suffer financially. Many Mom’s and Pop’s have to make that excruciating decision to close down, or suffer the loss of their savings to keep a struggling business afloat. I know my parents made the brave decision to retire, but it was such a hard decision for them. I know I miss the Country Store deeply.
Meanwhile, box stores undercut the little man and lure in customers with huge buying power, deep discounts and an endless supply of part-time employees to keep shelves stocked. The customer service here is usually vague at best.
However, the customer service is usually without question, the best in the world at Mom & Pop establishments. I heard a customer tell my Grandpa Gene Sivadon, “You have some of the best workers in town. They are always eager to help.” To which my Grandpa laughingly responded, “Well, it’s been pretty slow today, they must be bored.” They had a laugh and went on. But that can be so true…with small businesses losing business due to many different factors, the customer base is dwindling.
We have a great hardware store here in my Heartland Hometown. It is run by one of the best guys around. He has anything and everything you need…and may even stop by your house on his way home, just to make sure you bought the right item and installed it correctly. (I’m speaking from experience here.) There is nothing like bona fide, true blue, neighborly customer service.
With that in mind, I’m traversing the countryside, taking photographs and speaking with business owners to not only get a glimpse of where they are today and where they came from, but where they hope to be in the future.
So, in your journey to purchase that perfect spring flower, the right garden tool or a new hinge for your front gate, be certain to give the Mom & Pop shop a stop…You never know what treasure you might find tucked away on the dusty shelf.