Small Specialty Stores and Boutiques, from Life in the USA: The Complete Guide for Immigrants and Americans

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Life in the USA
Public Services I

Small Specialty Stores
Despite the dominance of large discount stores and the large specialized stores called “category killers,” small specialty stores in the United States exist to sell just about anything.

Most small specialty stores in shopping malls and some in center cities are members of large national or international chains, but in commercial strips, small towns and suburbs, the small specialty retailer serves its own market niche. Clothing and shoe stores, computer and electronics stores, hobby shops, crafts stores, sewing and quilting stores, music stores, cosmetics stores, kitchenware stores, gourmet food stores; the variety is full despite the power of the mega-marts.

Some small specialty stores are family businesses in their neighborhoods; in other cases, individual entrepreneurs own and run the stores. The specialty stores that survive in the face of competition usually do something special to gain and keep the loyalty of their customer base, since they cannot compete on price alone. Expert advice from the owner-operator or experienced sales staff is often the difference. Some specialty stores, such as sewing and kitchenware stores, may give demonstrations and classes. The specialty store may also have a fuller range of products than a discount store, giving the customer greater choice and higher quality.

In other cases, of course, a specialty store is simply more convenient to shop in than a large discount store or shopping mall, especially if it is located in a town or center city, close to restaurants and other services.

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