September 22, 2015
By Cheryl Katz
During the heyday of retailing, before corporate raiders and, later, technology profoundly changed the way we shop, the litmus test of a great store (and an equally great shopping experience) could be measured by five qualities.
Ironically, the acronym for these qualities—POWER—best described the thrill an inveterate shopper might feel upon entering.
Briefly described, great stores embodied:
Personality – a clear singular point of view, a sense of a “hand” at work
Obsession – a passion so strong as to be all consuming
Whimsy – a sense of humor and wit
Exaggeration – a lavish attention to detail
Romance – the ability to seduce
Though it’s gotten harder to find those kinds of stores, they still exist.
In Boston they include places like Good on Charles St., Joanne Rossman in Roslindale, Pod, Nomad and Abodeon in Cambridge, and Lekker Home, Hudson, Patch NYC, and Michelle Wiley in the South End.
Patch NYC Photograph by Jeffrey Katz
Lekker Home photo via their Facebook page
Shopping areas in Portland, Maine, Manchester, Vermont and in the Massachusetts’ Berkshires boast a number of them as well.
It’s notable that all these stores are owned by proprietors whose presence is palpable as soon as visitors enter their shops.
What’s hopeful is that a handful of on-line retailers are embodying their own kind of POWER. Whether walking through the front door or entering a portal on a computer screen, there’s always room for a POWERful experience