Decades ago, retailers could specialize and succeed. The Bookstore. Drug Store. Hardware store. Fruit stand. Along came department stores and one-stop shopping megastores, which pushed specialty to wholesale or to the brink. Over the past several months, the New York Times has been spotlighting retail stores that exclusively sell one thing. Our analysis of these one-thing shops has revealed some key ingredients for their success today.
- Truly focus on one thing. Galco’s Old World Grocery in Highland Park, Los Angeles a neighborhood Italian grocery founded in 1897 started as a newspaper and convenience store selling a variety of sundries. Over the years, the family found a love for hard-to-find sodas. The store now stocks soda exclusively — carrying over 750 varieties from independent brands, and draws visitors from around the world.
- Rarify products pushing as far from commoditization as possible. José Luis Pereira, a Spanish writer, realizing that cash-strapped Spaniards were more likely to get their literary fixes through the local library or e-books — turned to a rare art form that had captivated him since childhood - pop-up books. The result, Tres Rosas Amarillas (Three Yellow Roses), is Spain’s only specialist pop-up book store where shoppers are happy to pay triple the price of a national bestseller for his 'paper engineering'.