What is your favorite local business?


Look at the photo above. What elements catch your attention? Have you been to stores that remind you of this one?

What are your favorite local stores, restaurants or other types of service? To answer, think of businesses specific to your neighborhood or city, not stores like Target that can be found everywhere.

In “Casa Magazines Has Seen It All,” Kate Dwyer writes about the store pictured above, which sells newspapers and magazines. It opened in 1994 in Manhattan’s West Village and remains “a pillar of the neighborhood”. The article describes some of the relationships that developed there between staff and customers:

On Saturday and Sunday mornings, area residents gather at the store for their morning paper and coffee from La Bonbonniere, the local cash restaurant. “If I didn’t show up, they would call me and say, ‘Where are you? “Said Alison Benson, a television producer who keeps a set of spare keys at Casa.

Twenty years ago, when she started her career, she said, “I was going into the store and they were like, ‘Oh, this is Alison, she works for TV and film. Alison, you should meet Sheila, she’s a great producer. ‘ They were like the ultimate connectors on all things. (Now Mr. Ahmed and his deputy manager, Syed Khalid Wasim, known as Ali, refer to Ms. Benson.)

Ms. David testified to the familiarity between the managers of the store and her customers. “It’s like a confessional,” she said. “I have seen people tell Muhammad all these secrets. The secrets of the Village!

Luis Lopez, a driver on the M12 bus line, which starts outside the store, often hangs out with Mr. Wasim between loops. “We do skits all the time,” Mr. Lopez said.

“It looks like a grown-up Sesame Street,” said Nicolas Heller, a documentary filmmaker who shares stories about the city on his Instagram account @newyorknico.

William Grand, a DJ who makes Casa’s wares through his Neighborhood Spot business, described Mr. Ahmed using a laser pointer to help shoppers browse inventory from his perch behind the counter. “They have over 2,000 titles, but he knows exactly where things are,” he said.

Julianne Moore took her kids to walk every week as they grew up. “Ali in particular always gave my kids candy,” the Oscar-winning actress said, adding that managers “always remember you”.

“Plus,” Ms. Moore noted, “as an actor, if you find yourself on the cover of something and you’re a local, they’ll showcase 15 of those magazines. It is really adorable.

Students, read the entire article, then tell us:

  • Would you like to visit Casa Magazines? Does it remind you of a store or other type of business you’ve been in? Why?

  • Are you a “regular” in businesses in your area? How often do you go there? Do you recognize some of the people who work there? Do they remember you too?

  • What do you think is your favorite store, restaurant, café or other type of business? For example, maybe you get your nails done regularly in the same salon, or maybe there’s a bookstore or outdoor gear store that you love. What’s great about this place?

  • Do you know of any stories of customers who supported local stores, restaurants or other businesses during the pandemic, as did customers at Casa Magazines and La Bonbonniere? Have these companies survived the pandemic so far?

  • Would you ever like to work in a local store or business? If so, which ones and why? Have you ever had a job in retail? How was it ? Have you met regular customers?

  • What are the advantages of shopping at small, local businesses over large chains? The disadvantages? Which do you prefer? Why?

Want more write prompts? You can find all our questions in our Student opinion section. Teachers, check out this guide to find out how you can integrate them into your classroom.

Students 13 and older in the US and Britain, and 16 and older elsewhere, are welcome to comment. All comments are moderated by The Learning Network staff, but remember that once your comment is accepted, it will be made public.


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