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2019 Indie Influencers: Local Favorites

It’s not easy being the small guy.

There’s the squeeze of regulations, escalating demands of customers and crush of competition from larger chains with more capital and resources. The challenges are reflected in industry consolidation trends, with most of the erosion happening among mom and pop operators. According to preliminary NACS State of the Industry figures, 2,198 single stores fell off the industry map in 2018. Put another way, that is 2,198 people who, after investing their money, time and hopes in the c-store industry, decided it no longer had a place for them.

But even as some small retailers shut their doors, others have kept them open. They have managed to adjust to the new world of retail while staying true to their roots. Community ties—rural, urban or suburban; wealthy or working class; East Coast, West Coast or Route 66—define the following retailers. They prove that “local” is more than just a descriptor. It’s a way of doing business.

Photograph by Mark Neuenschwander