Good stores still exist. In fact, their numberis growing. Well-designed specialty shopsthat are inspired by the small manufacturersand mom-and-pop operations of thepast are now sprouting up. These outlets aredefying e-commerce and anonymous onlineshopping with outstanding products, originalinterior design, innovative concepts, and, first and foremost, friendly and competentcustomer service.The Shopkeepers explores this new storeculture through examples such as barbershops, fish smokeries, tailors, and milliners, as well as retail spaces specializing in stationery, hardware, buttons, home decor, or coffeemakers.They can be found off the beatentrack as well as in the hearts of major citiesfrom Berlin to Beirut. The book makes itclear that they are all driven by the passionthat their founders and operators have fortheir business ideas and products, whethervintage eyeglasses, textiles from India orChina, specialty books, soaps, olive oils, ortropical fish. While some shops are basedon innovative ideas, others are reinterpretationsof traditional family businesses.The Shopkeepers also introduces someof the personalities behind these excitingretail concepts.
Many have been runningtheir shops for years but are only nowbeing recognized by a new generation ofconsumers for their acumen, integrity, andknowledge --from shoemakers who trulyunderstand their craft to culinary expertswho can differentiate between 200 types ofchocolate or cheese with their eyes closed.Some are such interesting characters thatthe chance to interact with them is reasonenough to attract potential customers.In the stores featured in The Shopkeepers, the customer is again king and can find a personal, quality retail experience that the internetsimply cannot provide. The book remindsus all of the value of exceptional service andof meticulously selected products which arebuilt to last and on which one can depend. Ifthey didn't exist already, they do now."