Mom and pop stores are businesses that are owned and operated in a single location. Rather than being part of a national chain, the store offers a shopping alternative to consumers who want to deal with businesses that are local to a given city or town, and where the owners of the business are established members of the community. While the proliferation of huge retail chains have reduced the consumer market for independent stores considerably, many of these locally owned businesses continue to operate and even to thrive in today’s economy.
One time honored example of this type of store is the local general store. In decades past, just about every small town contained a business district that was anchored around a locally owned general store that would offer a selection of canned goods, dry goods, fabric, and other common household needs. It often also functioned as one of the social hubs in town, as people would have the chance to visit with one another while they shopped.
Another common example of a mom and pop store was the corner drugstore. Usually owned and operated by the same family for generations, this type of corner store would provide not only prescription medications, but also a selection of over-the-counter drugs, various gifts and notions, comic books, and even a soda fountain. In many instances, the druggist or pharmacist would be the proprietor of the store as well, and would be a well known figure in the community. As with the general store, the locally owned drugstore would often function as a center for social activity in the community.
Today, the mom and pop store still thrives in a number of forms. Some are found in neighborhood business districts and are intended to meet consumer needs for a limited geographical area. These often include locally owned coffee houses, pizzerias, and cafes. While reduced greatly in numbers, there are still bookstores, drugstores, and even general merchandise stores that are very similar to the old fashioned general store.