The importance of independently-owned businesses in Cooperstown, NY
Cooperstown's downtown is a model of how locally-owned shops can thrive in a "superstore" world
It's ironic that in a world where people buy things to be seen, those same individuals prefer not to be noticed by shop owners and employees when shopping. The right to remain anonymous and not be bothered by friendly help has sadly become a way of life in our society. It simply gets in the way of cell phone calls, impending business meetings and other self-perceived important items of the day. That is why the "superstores" are so popular -- you can get in and out without any social interaction, except saying "credit" or "debit" to the cashier.
Taking a deep breath and strolling down Cooperstown's Main Street serves as an antidote to this fast-paced lifestyle. Nearly all the colorful shops are independently-owned, some for generations. Most shop owners take the time to say "hello," offer a friendly smile and lend their expertise. They even remember that returning customer, six or even 12 months down the road.
Customers love the attention. The slower pace and more personable approach breeds a connection to each other, taking us away from the one-hour, fast food, got-to-get-there-as-fast-as-we-can mentality. It is life the way we used to know so affectionately.
Shops like Ellsworth and Sill (women's clothing), Willis Monie Books, Tin Bin Alley Country Gifts, the Cooperstown General Store or one of the many baseball shops (Mickey's Place, Cooperstown Bat Company, etc.) embody this spirit so well that the employees' attitudes serve as a reason for customers to return just as much as the quality merchandise.
You've heard critics calling a film "The feel good movie of the year." The retail version of this phrase can be found so endearingly in Cooperstown. Shopping never felt so good.
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Unless otherwise stated, all VisitingCooperstown.com articles written and photos taken by Eric H.