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Reasons to Shop At Mom-and-Pop Stores

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Here in my city there is an adorable little mom-and-pop store that sells local products including wine, sauces and spreads, craft items, and jewelry. They rent a small storefront in a shopping center located very close to our local Wal-Mart and Target. I go to Wal-Mart or Target at least once a week so I understand the appeal of those stores. You can find almost anything you’re looking for from groceries to electronics in one place and usually, for cheaper prices than you will find elsewhere. I’m not going to try and talk you out of shopping at the big-box stores because sometimes cost and convenience are very important. However, I’d like to point out some reasons you should be stopping in at the smaller local stores every once in a while.


Olde Virginia Gourmet


Better Customer Service

Some large stores do have great customer service when management makes it a priority and insists upon it. Local businesses have many more reasons to make you their top priority all the time. First, their success relies almost entirely on making you happy since they often can’t compete with the big guys on price or variety. Second, they work and live in your community so they have a personal interest in connecting with you and making sure you have a positive view of them and their business.

As a result of my husband’s career in the military, we moved away from Virginia for two years but then were fortunate enough to return to the same area. When I walked back into the mom-and-pop store here, they greeted me by name and pulled out my frequent shopper card to see how close I was to my next free item. This was after TWO YEARS!


Gourmet Items at Olde VA Gourmet


Special Perks and Discounts

This story brings me to my next point. Since they can’t compete on price, small businesses have to be creative when it comes to winning loyal customers. Outstanding customer service helps, but it isn’t enough for most people. Oftentimes individually-owned businesses will offer special deals or loyalty programs that you won’t get from their corporate competitors. They will often special-order items for you and are typically more willing to participate in school fundraising events.

As I mentioned above, the store where I shop has a frequent shopper program. For every 10 gourmet items I buy, I get one free. They also have a wine-of-the-month club that includes 2 bottles of wine and a gourmet food item. Yes, there are other wine-of-the-month clubs, but do you know of any that know your personal preferences, if your kids have allergies or aversions to certain foods, and if you need a different selection because your mother-in-law is coming to visit?


Olde VA Gourmet's Wine Selection


Social Responsibility

Another way small businesses distinguish themselves from large ones is by being more diligent in choosing the types and sources of merchandise they carry. It is in your local stores and boutiques where you are more likely to find products made in the U.S.A., organic ingredients, fair-trade products, products that have not been tested on animals, and handmade products.

The local store I keep bragging about offers fresh organic milk, eggs, cheese and butter. The owners of the store can tell you all about the farm where they come from along with stories of all the wineries from which they order wine and the woman who makes the watches they sell, and the gentleman who grows and grinds the coffee they sell. They know all of these suppliers personally and frequently invite them into the store to meet customers and explain their products in person.


Farm Fresh Organic Milk



Visit any city in the United States and you will find most of the same big stores. Mom-and-pop stores are each unique and they help make your city different from another. They are part of your community’s character and story.

Our local mom-and-pop sells gift items that are all made locally. They have note cards that have local schools and churches printed on them. They also have trivets and paperweights that have local elementary school names etched on them. These make great teacher and volunteer gifts and they aren’t sold anywhere else.


inside Olde VA Gourmet


Supports the “American Dream”

I’m a big fan of capitalism. I think competition is good for the economy and for innovation. Some people use this argument against small businesses insisting that if a small business can’t compete with a large business, it deserves to perish, thereby creating a more efficient marketplace. Here’s the problem with that logic. A small business owner starts out with the odds stacked against him or her. They have few loan options and no investors. Without the financial resources for marketing, staffing, and square footage, a small business has no option but to enter with a small space, small staff, and small volume (i.e. higher costs and higher prices). If we, as consumers, don’t value the other benefits we gain from the business so that we are willing to pay higher prices to shop there, we discourage entrepreneurship. The big stores will just keep getting bigger and over time we will give up variety, ingenuity, and originality.

Sauce Selection at Olde Virginia


I’d like to thank Olde Virginia Gourmet for inspiring me to write this article by providing quality, local products in a charming store, owned an operated by a caring and generous couple. If you happen to live near or ever visit Stafford, Virginia, please stop in and visit them so you can witness firsthand how wonderful locally-owned businesses can be. You can also visit them virtually on Facebook. All photos in this article are from their Facebook page, published here with their permission.

30 thoughts on “Reasons to Shop At Mom-and-Pop Stores”

    • I am so glad! A lot of people don’t have the time to work in a stop at their local small businesses and I worry about what our towns will look like if they don’t survive.

  1. Wow! I like to visit this type of store. They have character and looking at the pictures you posted, reminds me of Cracker Barrel and an Amish Store. The moment I walk in, warm welcome greets me. I love their arrangements too. I don’t see a Mom and Pop in our area yet, wish we have that.

  2. Looks like a great store. I don’t know if we have those kids of store around here but I do shop at the farmer’s market to show support local farmers.

  3. We don’t have a Mom N Pop in our area but, I agree 100% with what you said. We are a proud supporter of our local community and to our local small business owners.

  4. We buy local because I know what the cows near us are eating. In other words, I know my milk is grass fed, I know my meat is grass fed, and I like that I am keeping our jobs local and not oversees

  5. I couldn’t agree more. I live in a small town and we have several mom & pops here and I try to shop at them before I head to the big retail chains. I love supporting local business & often times, they have unique products that you can’t find anywhere else.

  6. My mom and dad had one of these little stores when my dad was alive. Thank you for this post and supporting the little guy.

  7. I rarely go into the big box stores to shop–I hate crowds. As a result I tend to shop at the little stores. I realize this is unique in this day and age (someone who will not shop at the big boxes) but not being shoved around and being able to hear yourself think means a lot to me–UP with the Mom & Pop stores!!

  8. My husband worked for a mom n pop store and it is the best kind of stores to work for and also do business with. I think they seem to care more about their customers than big business’s Maybe not all cases but from what I have seen.

  9. What great customer service!!
    See it is a two way street: they give you and you return for great points

    It is so difficult to find mom and pops in my area now 🙁

  10. I absolutely love shopping at mom and pop type stores, but in this economy it really is difficult to do! Around my area, we have a Walmart on every corner it seems. The mom and pop stores have to charge so much to make ends meet that they rarely stay in business very long. I wish I had the money to help them stay in business but it is something I lack. I hope things get better. You really don’t see to many small businesses near me, mainly flea market on weekends where they bring their products. I think most of the mom and pop stores are now located in the downtown area, which is being threatened with a new Walmart.. I tell ya, they just can’t win. =(

  11. My husband and I try to buy from local places when we can, even if they’re a little more expensive. It’s worth the extra cost to boost the local economy, in my opinion. 🙂

  12. I do my best to always “shop small” – we have farmer’s markets, local farms, tiny crafting shops, and our local wineries – I try as hard as a I can to support them with my dollars as much as possible!

  13. You have definitely hit on many great reasons to support small business and local mom and pop shops! Great post and I’ll be sharing the word. #supportsmallbusiness Thanks 🙂

  14. How true! A huge chain store will never give you the same care and attention as a store like this! I love shopping in smaller stores 🙂

  15. I love shopping the mom and pop stores. whenever we visit a new town on vacation i always have to visit one. I love the smallness of them

  16. What a lovely store I do like shopping local produce when I can it always seems that much nicer as well as the feeling of doing something ‘nice’ to help local business.

  17. Wow! I would absolutely love to go to a store like this. And you’re so right about mom and pop shops. They do care a lot more for their customers and pay such attention because they can’t afford to not be, like the other big retailers. I love supporting shops like this because you know that they will genuinely care about what you think and not just about making the sale.

  18. I love shopping mom and pop. We eat out once a week, it is a tiny little place. Good food, great conversation, local folks. Owned by our neighbors.
    Support the American dream, shop local. I love this store you shared.

  19. We have a mom and pop store right down the street from our home. We would never buy our meat or produce anywhere else. You hit the nail on the head with your post. Our mom and pop store actually has started to carry a specific brand of can beans that we requested. They special order for us! Thanks for sharing.

  20. I totally agree! I love to shop in mom and pop stores and I hate it when big businesses run them off. I hope that more people will start to support mom and pops!

  21. I love the little Mom N Pop places, they are so friendly and helpful. Good for you for supporting your local business.
    We have a Cheese House near us that is owned locally and I can buy some really neat and different things there.

  22. I am a supporter of mom and pop stores too, especially boutiques and farms – both are quite different, but hey, I like boutique one of a kinds and fresh all natural foods!!!


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