‘Mom & Pop’ convenience stores have been around seemingly forever and are, as the saying goes: “As American as Apple Pie!”
These days, the term ‘Mom & Pop’ has become, kind of a “catch all” category that includes many more differing store types than the original neighborhood stores for which the name was first coined.
Those original neighborhood Mom & Pop stores used to serve the community without the assistance of gasoline and diesel fuel, but perhaps a bit of kerosene; many with burlap bags of coal to assuage their grocery, soda pop, ‘penny candy’ and cigarette sales.
Today, the term Mom & Pop convenience store refers to a single-store operation or small chain run by a an individual or family, rather than a large corporation. While these smaller operations can struggle to compete with more substantial establishments like large c-store chains and Big Box stores that often have more buying power, Mom & Pop stores have their own benefits. They are often very involved in the local community, know their customers by name and feature offerings the larger corporate stores don’t, whether it’s novelty items from local artists or in-demand offerings unique to their customer base. Many provide fresh groceries, especially if they are located in a ‘food desert’ where they’re the only store in walking distance. Today, these stores are also moving into foodservice, offering fresh baked goods or grab-and-go foods, and they’re not letting their small size keep them from exploring new technology.
With dedicated and caring owners, plus a key neighborhood location, many of them achieve more profit, with much less labor than many more conventional convenience stores that are bigger and have more buying power. They know their customer base and are entrenched in the community, which helps them succeed.