When you think of mom-and-pop shops, you probably imagine a quaint, family-owned drugstore fixed on the corner of a neighborhood strip mall or a general store located in the downtown quarter of a small town. Although this wouldn’t be inaccurate, mom-and-pop shops have come a long way over the last century.
The term “mom-and-pop” can be applied to various types of small businesses, such as restaurants, bookstores, electronic repair shops, car repair garages, and more. What really distinguishes mom-and-pop shops from other businesses is not their industry but their size. Historically, mom-and-pop businesses were typically owned and run by families. This limited the size and scope of their operations, putting them at a disadvantage to larger businesses with more resources.
Although this is still the case today, the advent of the internet in the early 90s and the rise of e-commerce shortly after led to significant changes in business models. Both small businesses and enterprises alike had to adapt to drastic market changes to survive. Indeed, the challenges introduced by large online retailers (namely, Amazon) to small and medium-sized (SMB) business owners has sent shockwaves through the business landscape.
Specifically, the growing popularity of e-commerce shopping has forced several prominent US retailers to close a number of their brick-and-mortar locations, which has led many to believe that mom-and-pop businesses will suffer a similar fate. While small businesses are by no means unaffected by e-commerce trends, they’ve proven to be more resilient than you might expect.
For example, mom-and-pop bookstores have found ways to thrive amidst the adversity. According to the American Booksellers Association, there has been a 35% increase in the number of independent bookstores between 2009 and 2015. What’s more, some indie bookstores have reported an increase in sales despite the fact that Amazon now has over 100 million prime subscribers.
So, what does this say about mom-and-pop shops? Consumers still crave an in-person shopping experience — so much so that it transcends the convenience of online shopping. It’s safe to say that small businesses are here to stay, and that they are still a vital part of the US economy.
In celebration of National Mom and Pop Business Owners Day, we’ve created an infographic that demystifies common myths surrounding mom-and-pop shops and offers seven tips to help you succeed: