Book Review: The Shopkeepers and Small Stores Rebirth – In the age of online shopping, opening a store and becoming a shopkeeper seems like a bold move. Yet from Vienna to Vancouver, storefronts are emerging once again as worthy opponents to commercial corporations. Customers embrace individual businesses that share the distinctive knowledge, personalities, vision, and humor of their owners.
Whether brand new and based on innovative ideas or passed down for generations and revamped, the stores and their shopkeepers featured in this book stand out for the singular experience they provide to their customers and the personal selection of items they sell. The Shopkeepers: Storefront Businesses and the Future of Retail celebrates the diversity and creativity of brick-and-mortar businesses, telling the stories of the shops and their unique owners.
Good stores still exist. In fact, their number is growing. Well-designed specialty shops that are inspired by the small manufacturers and mom-and-pop operations of the past are now sprouting up. These outlets are defying e-commerce and anonymous online shopping with outstanding products, original interior design, innovative concepts, and, first and foremost, friendly and competent customer service.
The Shopkeepers: Storefront Businesses and the Future of Retail explores this new store culture through examples such as barber shops, fish smokeries, tailors, and milliners, as well as retail spaces specializing in stationery, hardware, buttons, home décor, or coffeemakers. They can be found off the beaten track as well as in the hearts of major cities from Vienna to Vancouver. The book makes it clear that they are all driven by the passion that their founders and operators have for their business ideas and products, whether vintage eyeglasses, textiles from India or China, specialty books, soaps, olive oils, or tropical fish. While some shops are based on innovative ideas, others are reinterpretations of traditional family businesses.
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