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The Great American Shopping Experience: The History of American Retail from Main Street to the Mall.

A review of a non-fiction book such as this one is not a typical post, but I thought it might be of interest as we are all shoppers.


The Great American Shopping Experience: The History of American Retail from Main Street to the Mall is an extremely well-researched look at the changing face of retail. It covers the earliest days when immigrant peddlers became merchants who created grand palaces of commerce in downtowns. Then the shift of the population moved stores to the suburbs. And the availability of space enabled malls to be created.


The most fascinating are the stories of the origins of the grand department stores and the experiences that were created to make each visit an enjoyable time especially during the holidays. The vast consolidation of these stores marked the end of the industry’s growth and a change in society resulted in the lack of time to be able to spend shopping.


For anyone who works in the retail or shopping center industry, this book should be of high interest. But even if you have no professional connection to the subject matter, this nostalgic look back should delight anyone who simply finds the history of shopping fascinating. And if you've ever wondered what happened to your favorite stores, this book will give you the answers.


Here is a list of chapters:

  • Introduction: Santa's Storefront

  • Chapter 1: Humble Beginnings

  • Chapter 2: Catalog Heaven

  • Chapter 3: Welcome to the Palace

  • Chapter 4: The Giants

  • Chapter 5: Christmastime in the City

  • Chapter 6: Ready, Set, Shop!

  • Chapter 7: Separate and Unequal

  • Chapter 8: Spend More, Save More

  • Chapter 9: Supermarket Spree

  • Chapter 10: Downtown Downturn

  • Chapter 11: Malled

  • Chapter 12: Run of the Mill

  • Chapter 13: Big-Box Bonanza

  • Chapter 14: Closeouts and Outlets

  • Chapter 15: Members Only

  • Chapter 16: Convenience is King

  • Chapter 17: Pros and Consolidations

  • Chapter 18: Whatever Happened to ...

Many thanks to Craven Street Books, Edelweiss+ and author Stephen H. Provost for an advance copy.


Rated 4.25 out of 5 stars.

Historical Non-Fiction / Business & Economics.

Publication Date: January 11, 2022.


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