Gallery of Store Fronts

Last year, when I discovered that a favorite small coffee shop had disappeared almost overnight and that a frame shop I had used the services of several times had also closed down, the latter to be replaced by a 13-floor apartment building, I decided to start keeping a photographic record of those small store fronts still remaining in our neighborhood.  Several of these photos have already been published in the Tree—before it became a blog.  So we decided to archive them here under the title of “Gallery of Store Fronts.”

We recently came across an article by Bryant Simon, American Studies professor at Temple University, in which he claims that “the spread of …branded symbols of globalization”—such as McDonald’s and Starbucks—“raises the value of the local.  Everywhere multinationals go, they generate a grassroots pushback, an assertion of the enduring value of particular places, tastes and traditions.”  By this same screwy logic, one could also claim that the spread of nuclear weapons serves to generate the anti-nuclear weapons movement.

What Professor Simon fails to appreciate is that while it may be true that the value of our local shops and businesses is raised by the encroachment of fast food chain stores and Starbucks outlets and their imitators, there is not much that anyone can do to “push back” against them.   Unable to keep up with the competition, small shop after small shop in our neighborhood goes out of business and pulls down its shutters for the last time.  Some of the store fronts appearing in this Gallery have already folded but are still standing.  Others are happily still with us–for the time being.  Let’s enjoy them while we still can.

Nihil Cow crafts and gift shop

Tanuki (badger) yakitori (chicken kebab) restaurant

a second-hand bookstore

No longer open for business

a former tatami (straw mat) maker

antique shops

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