Mom-and-pop c-stores, tailoring products and services to meet their market needs, remain indispensable to their customers—and to the character of the U.S.

There are many wonderful franchises in today’s c-store landscape. Their market reach and visibility influence trends and shape the public’s knowledge of what c-stores have to offer besides soft drinks, beer, and candy. We’ve celebrated enterprises of this size many times on our social media accounts and in this blog, and rightfully so.

But we also can’t overlook stores that keep things small and intimate, usually with a single owner and often with a single site. They are the “mom and pop” stores that help form the fabric of our industry. They’ve been there since the beginning, in the first part of the 20th Century, a time when general stores, small groceries, and other small scale retailers blended together to form the clay out of which the modern industry was formed.

Mom-and-pops aren’t going anywhere either, even in the face of increased competition and the spread of consolidation. That’s a good thing. These stores are a personification of self-made America, where an individual builds a business from the ground up and creates a livelihood with their personal stamp all over it. It’s personal retailing, at its best.

We’re far from the only ones that appreciate mom-and-pop stores, because today, March 29, is National Mom-and-Pop Business Owners Day. It’s a great opportunity to reflect on these businesses, and their secrets for success. Here are a few practices common among leading ones.

Become a social and commercial hub. In smaller towns and isolated areas, c-stores develop a focus that goes beyond selling stuff. They are often the only show in town, and if they are capitalizing on that market characteristic, they are likely to be a social hub, too, where locals exchange neighborhood news over fresh-made breakfasts; clerks understand their customers’ preferences, as well as their names; and a sense of community is built and sustained.

Niche products. Mom-and-pops can differentiate themselves from their bigger cousins by carrying merchandise that aren’t on the shelves of other retailers. One good example is SSCS customer Wittenburg Shell of Wittenburg, Wisconsin, which runs a fine ladies clothing boutique a few steps away from their McDonalds.

Community Involvement. Being prominent in a smaller location provides additional visibility that can pay big dividends when the c-store gets involved in local community events and charities. When everybody knows your name, giving back to the community makes a heck of an impression. Community involvement is a plus for a store of any size, but the impact can be outsized for those that are working in less populated locales.

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There are other effective strategies, too, but we thought it might be better to show, in some detail, how mom-and-pops that are SSCS customers survive and thrive at this level, in their own words. They are profiled at the following links:

Of course, when mentioning the secrets of mom-and-pop success, we left out one conspicuous factor: Back Office Technology. A mom-and-pop needs every possible advantage to see what’s working and what’s not, because their margin for error is so thin. It’s no coincidence that the above stores have successfully dialed in what the store needs and what it doesn’t need. It’s even less of a coincidence that they have mastered their approach with the assistance of SSCS’s Computerized Daily Book back office software.

Even if you are not a mom-and-pop, SSCS Technology can help you. We provide software to some of the largest chains in the county, and all manner of enterprises in-between. We can help you move forward as the competition ramps up, now and in the future. If software that can help you get control over your business sounds good, we’ll be more than happy to discuss it! Give us a call at 800-727-9927, and see how our technology makes you competitive, in any market.