Monday, April 08, 2013

Commerce without connection

"Historians will tell you that nothing changed the American retail experience in the 20th century more than the shopping mall. Once developers clustered hundreds of stores in a single place (with ample parking), the American Main Street all but disappeared. People stopped seeing each other in the center of town. They felt less connected to their community — certainly less connected to its businesses."

Mitch Albom, Duluth News Tribune 2013-04-08

This quote was in "'Just browsing' may become a memory" also published on his website on 2013-03-31.

His article is on how the shopping on the web is changing our shopping habits as much as or even more than the shopping malls changed our shopping habits.

I grew up walking or taking a street car or bus almost everywhere I went.  At one place we lived there were three locally-owned groceries on our block and two store-front chains a bit farther.  At another place we lived there were three locally-owned drug stores in walking distance.

Now almost everything is chains.  The only locally-owned stores are restaurants, bottle shops, hardware stores, and some gas stations.  I really appreciate the few of these places where I can walk in, know the names of the people behind the counter, and be known by them.