A Big Day for a Mom and Pop Shop

Do the Mom and Pop Shops have a Hope in today’s market?

Mom and Pop Shops vs Chain StoresDo your students know the meaning of “mom and pop shop”? What about “big box store”? If you enjoy using authentic materials in the classroom, (and if you want to talk about good news for a change) share this Huffington Post article “In the Era Of Big Boxes, A Day for the Little Guy”. It tells the story of a good samaritan in Ohio who invited his friends to support a local hardware store. When Jim Black challenged his friends and neighbours to spend at least 20 dollars at a family run store that had been in the town since 1857, he did not expect such a huge response. Check out the article and share it with your students. If you teach low level learners, summarize the story in your own words and see what they have to say about it.

Here are a few questions to get your students talking after reading the article:

  • What is a big box store? What is another name for a box store? How do you think this name came about?
  • What is a mom and pop shop? Is there one in your hometown?
  • In what ways do “box stores” differ from “the little guy”?
  • How does a box store “cripple” a local family run business?
  • Which industries have been the hardest hit by box stores?
  • Which is the last store that you saw “teeming with customers”? Why was it so busy?
  • What is a close-knit community?
  • What did the store owner mean when he said, “What a place to live!”

“I challenge everyone to spend AT LEAST $20 at the hardware on the 21st.”
Jim Black via Huffington Post

What challenge could you put out to help a local mom and pop shop? What could you do to get the best response?

Our Discussion Starters section features a full-length lesson on Mom and Pop Shops vs Chain Stores. If your students are interested in discussing this issue, be sure to print out this lesson.

Related Lessons in the ESL-Library

Chain Stores vs Mom and Pop
The Occupy Movement
Online Shopping
Boxing Day
While our Something to Talk About suggestions are useful for getting your students involved in a group or pair discussion or debate, the topics, articles, and videos can also be used if you are looking for something for your students to blog/Skype/or write an opinion essay about.


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