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I’m sitting here at 1 a.m. finishing reading Stephanie Mencimer’s so-called expert opinion of mom-and-pop stores in the District of Columbia (“Mom and Flop,” 12/26/97). Ms. Mencimer, your article is the most inaccurate and poorly researched piece that I have ever read. If you had bothered to really inquire where you should have, the real story would have been in your pathetic article.
I have no animosity for the chain store. My business was able to exist as a viable, efficiently run, and profitable entity for 35 years in “Adams Morgan,” as it is known now, or just plain old 18th and Columbia Road the rest of those many years. Small mom-and-pop businesses can operate in just about any business atmosphere. It takes a lot of hard work and very long hours to make it a success, just as it took the chains many years for their successes. Evidently, you don’t recognize the fact that you work for a small business, which I bet also started like a mom-and-pop newspaper.
Your statement, “gnashings over the death of the mom-and-pop store are the froth of mostly well-heeled white people who have the luxury of paying too much for toothpaste in order to maintain a certain neighborhood aesthetic” is the most racially bigoted statement I have heard in many years. The 18th and Columbia Road area has always been a wonderfully mixed neighborhood. The businesses in our area are also very diverse in their mixture of owners and operators. I have always told people that Adams Morgan is like a small town inside a big city.
You seem to think that the chains are wonderful because they are now opening in the inner-city areas of D.C. Where were they for the last 20 years? Mom-and-pops were the only stores left in some areas for many years. Ask their neighbors and customers what they would have done without them.
Owner of now-closed Midtown Pharmacy
President of the Washington D.C.