AgentMarkets & Economy

Mom-and-pops can’t compete in ‘Anywhere U.S.A’

With chain stores taking over, it's not just economic value that's lost
Published on Sep 12, 2008

For some years now, my favorite place to find a big old homemade slab of pie has been an unassuming mom-and-pop restaurant called Walker's Pie Shop, not far from where I live. It's the sort of place that hasn't changed in decades. Its decor, such as it is, evokes the home-improvement hit parade of another era: asphalt tile, Formica-topped tables, Masonite paneling, and glossy oil paint. Oddly enough, this very lack of pretense is what makes Walker's stand apart. It's quite clear that no corporate consultants came up with its cheerfully jarring vanilla-orange-vanilla color scheme. There are no fake old books on high shelves, no copper muffin pans or reprints of old French bicycle posters hanging on the walls. In short, there's none of the strained quirkiness that comes from decor specified down to the last jot by some corporate guidebook. Instead -- now here's a concept -- there's plain old good eating: a whole roster of big, old-fashioned pies baked up each morning right in ...

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