Little-guy capitalism

One company sticks up for the mom-and-pop shops in an attempt to save our communities.

Consumer columnist Rob Walker of the New York Times shares how one company is trying to keep small businesses alive:
Destee Nation is not selling nostalgia or hipster kitsch but romance — the romance of the American small business, the neighborhood diner, the old bar, the mom-and-pop shop that has managed to linger into the era of big-box chains. Morgan celebrates little-guy capitalism with an agenda: “Let’s keep it,” he says, noting that every time Destee Nation sells a T-shirt, the business it advertises gets a cut. Founded in 2004, the company now has 21 employees and sales approaching 10,000 T-shirts a month, and this month will begin distributing through a number of Nordstrom locations. “Basically,” Morgan says, “we’re using fashion as a way to save local landmarks.”

In fact, the company’s mission statement includes the assertion that supporting these businesses might “help keep the big-box brands one step further from taking over our communities.” Opposing big business by shopping always seems a little dissonant, but then the nature of the ideological statement here is entirely within the realm of commerce. Morgan says it’s more about being positive about small businesses with history and character than with being overtly negative (or “whiny”) about larger ones.