… Mom and Pop stores/businesses?
Thanks to the anonymous person who left this suggestion in the Padlet devoted to ideas for posts.
It’s a topic that I’m passionate about. I even blogged about My Childhood Community a while back.
Growing up in mid-western Ontario, our community was a place unto itself. You could get darn near anything that you wanted there. Since we didn’t leave the community much, we really didn’t appreciate that there were other things that a person might want to spend money on!
We had two grocery stores where you knew the owners and all the clerks. There was one department store (Stedmans) where it seemed like there was every thing in the world. We had a hardware store, a bakery, a couple of restaurants, a jewellery store, a couple of shoe stores, a few variety stores, a place to buy material for sewing, two dentists, a few doctors, and more. There were no chain stores unless you consider the Royal Bank or the Bank of Montreal in that vein. Most people banked at the Community Credit Union anyway… People from the surrounding villages came to our town to shop.
You knew everyone; and there never was a sense that you needed to price match since everyone was honest, you trusted all the stores, and things for sale were specially procured for the community. The best part – you could walk to every store.
There were a couple of times when we did leave the town. One was to buy birthday gifts for my mother; we’d go to Goderich since they had a Woolworth’s store which was huge! At Christmas, we’d make a special trip to London since they had “malls” including an Eaton’s store. Other than that, we’d order via the catalogue.
But, as we know now, things changed. Travel became so much cheaper and people now have more spare time to waste going to big places to do shopping. First it was shopping malls in larger communities and then now the bane of my shopping – big box stores. I’ve yet to find one where the parking lots don’t look like they were created by a designer version of Spill and Spell. And, they’re always located on the outskirts of a town/city. The downtowns, which were the centre of things, take on a new role.
Now, you walk through the heart of smaller towns and even bigger cities and the essential stores are all closed. People are willing to spend the time to go to the malls or big box stores, spend all the money on gas, and save a few cents rather than support the local business person. In the place of the staple of a community, you’ll find an ever changing array of boutique-want-to-be stores or stores that sell things that you never imagined ever wanting. In the place of a normal department store, we now have dollar stores which, because of inflation, should be renamed dollar(s) stores.
It’s sad; it seems to drive a community apart. You don’t know or support your friends/neighbours with your buying habits. Instead, it’s devoted to larger, more convenient locations which do give you a chance to get all your shopping done at once. For the most part, it’s self-serve. I really miss going into a shoe store and have a salesperson actually measure my foot and then bring out offerings that might suit my needs.
How about you? Do you miss your local mom/pop store?
What about the future? Walmart predicts.
I just dread the day that the drone delivering my neighbour’s pizza crashes into the one delivering my MaPo Tofu.
- When was the last time you had your foot measured for a shoe?
- Do you have a membership to a bulk store?
- Do you prefer shopping at a big department store that has everything or do you look for that special store?
- Do you ever travel to another community just for the shopping?
- Do you know someone or someone whose parent owned a mom/pop store and has gone out of business?
- Is your community the same as it was say 25 years ago?
I’d love to hear your thoughts. Please leave them in a comment below.
And, if you have an idea for a future post, please leave it at the Padlet like this anonymous person did. Get me thinking! And, I’m not adverse to a guest blogger either. If you’d like to think back on a topic and post it here, just let me know.
All of the posts from this series are available here.