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Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Feb. 1, 2006 / 3 Shevat, 5766

A lament over the demise of mom & pop

By Leonard Pitts, Jr.


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | I don't expect you to shed any tears because Aron's is gone.


Unless you grew up in L.A. as I did, you've probably never even heard of it. Aron's was this used record and CD store that I discovered 30 years ago. It was a quirky place, an audiophile heaven where there was never any telling what offbeat treasure you might find.


More to the point, it was "my" place, a store where I spent endless hours browsing for rarities and oddities you could never find elsewhere. To this day, no trip back to the city of L.A. is complete without an afternoon at Aron's.


Or at least, that used to be the case. Recently I read online in the L.A. Times that Aron's will soon be closing its doors.


The paper played it as a sign of hard times in the music industry, noting that the number of independent music stores has dropped by half in the last 10 years. But for my money, the demise of Aron's is symptomatic of something larger: Mom and Pop are dying. Or at least, starting to smell funny.


You remember Mom and Pop, right? Mr. and Mrs. Small Business? Used to own that diner down the street, that coffee shop around the corner, that record store across town? Used to run that bookstore with the long aisles of dusty paperbacks where you could while away a rainy afternoon browsing to your heart's content. They gave the neighborhood personality. They gave it soul.


Then somebody bought them out, knocked down the building and put up a Wal-Mart. Or a Starbucks. Or a box store with low prices, huge selection, and all the soul of tuna fish on white bread. And one by one those storied places, yours and mine, winked out of existence.


At this point, the Commerce Department would want me to remind you that the vast majority of businesses in this country are still small ones. Which is true, but also misleading. In 2002, the last year for which numbers are available, the Census Bureau reported that music stores racked up $7.2 billion in sales. Of that, just under $5 billion, roughly 70 percent, was generated by only seven chains, each employing a thousand people or more. In 1992, by contrast, big music stores accounted for "only" 60 percent of the market.


Similarly, general interest bookstores reported sales of almost $9.5 billion in 2002, roughly 80 percent of which was generated by four large chains. In '92, the mega chains accounted for less than half the bookstore market.


The big are eating the small. Indeed, ask Bob Perry of Blue Note Records in North Miami Beach what business is like for independent music sellers like him and the first word out of his mouth is, "Sucks."


"It's very, very bad," he adds. Perry says his store thrives only because he's diversified: he sells posters, memorabilia and does Internet auctions.


This is not the business page, I know. But this lament is not for lost business. Rather, it's for a loss of — here's that word again — soul. Meaning the things that once made our communities unique.


Drive across the country these days and "unique" is not a word that comes often to mind. Increasingly, Richmond could be Rochester could be Dayton could be Duluth. We shop at cookie-cutter stores in cookie-cutter malls and eat at cookie-cutter restaurants, not because the food is special but because it is familiar.


A former colleague called it the Wal-Martification of America. It's as good a term as any for the process by which we become uniform. And regionalisms — that thing they say only in Cincy, that funky bookstore in lower Manhattan, that dish you can get only in that little dive in Jackson — become fewer and further between.


Progress is inexorable, so I suppose there's nothing to do but wave Mom and Pop goodbye and mourn what they represent, a world before Velcro and digital clocks where families watched TV together and neighbors knew one another by name.


Not to sentimentalize. Time passes, yes. Things change.


But man, Aron's was my place. And I'm sorry, but Amazon.com just ain't the same.

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© 2006, The Miami Herald Distributed by TMS

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