The First Big Box Store

September 7th, 2011

American have a schizophrenic relationship with retail. On the one hand we want choice. We feel we are entitled to boundless choices and variety. We also want low prices, particularly in these tough economic times. Yet we hold out a soft spot for the little guy, the mom and pop retailer fighting against the big box behemoth. While this may sound like a conflict taken from today's headlines, its roots go back to the l920's, when the Greater Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company, A & P, took on the small town grocer. In almost 100 years we have still not reconciled this dichotomy. In fact, the romanticism for those small mom and pops has become even stronger.  Marc Levinson takes us through this history in The Great A&P and the Struggle for Small Business in America. My conversation with Marc Levinson:

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