Recently I bought a book called 'Shutting Up Shop; The decline of the tradtional small shop' by John Londei.
John Londei took pictures of sixty small shops around Britain from Brush shops to Condom shops over the duration of fifteen years. Each shop is unique, one of a kind.
He took all the pictures with of either the front or interior of the shop with the owner/s infront, all taken with a 10x8 plate camera.
Londei then interviews each of the owners to find out what it is like to own the shop, it's history, financial situation or any personal details about working there. Many of the businesses had been around for years, one shop owner talks about his experience of selling cork for sixty years!
Fifteen years later John Londei returned to each shop in turn, taking a second photograph of the shop. At the back of the book you can see the before and after photographs and information. Most businesses have dissapeared with only a small minority that have survived. A sad tale!
The shops all look amazing; many crammed full and have shop fronts with beautiful hand signage. The workers seem geniunely intersted in what they are selling and have some sort of history in a particular area. That is what is special about small businesses.
This book will have a strong influence on this current project 'Identity and Promotion'. With my own family owning a small hardware shop in York, I want to promote and encourage people to use their local shops to keep small businesses alive.