Boston ‘Mom and Pop’ Shops-Introduction

By: Patrick Maguire

Book Chapter: Human-to-Human Service

Posted: 01/30/2016

Many of us lament the demise of ‘Mom and Pop’ shops, especially when they give way to soulless, ‘plastic’, national chains like those prevalent in Boston’s emerging Seaport District.

‘Mom and Pop’ shop as defined by Investopedia:

A colloquial term for a small, independent, family-owned business. Unlike franchises and large corporations, which have multiple operations in various locations, mom and pop shops usually have a single location that often occupies a physically small space. The “shop” could be any type of business, such as an auto repair garage, bookstore or restaurant.

To me, ‘Mom and Pop’ shops are about people who keep their heads down and grind out a living every day without a lot of fanfare. This blog post launches a series celebrating ‘Mom and Pop’ shops in the Boston area. It was inspired by Sharon and Chad Burns, co-owners of Farmstead Table in Newton, MA, and clients of my consulting business. Sharon is the pastry chef, and Chad is the executive chef, and both have multiple responsibilities beyond those titles. After meeting with them weekly over the last few months, I’ve gotten to know what their roles are, and what they rely on each other for.

I love supporting small businesses and good people, and that’s what this series is about. Some very popular restaurants and food trucks in Boston, Erbaluce, Sweet Cheeks, Tiger Mama, Select Oyster, Brewer’s ForkDeuxave, Blue Ox, Moonshine 152, Trina’s, Steel & Rye, Stoked Pizza, Villa Mexico Cafe, Trade, Nebo, and State Park mentioned in my 10/22/15 facebook post and thread, are all owned by couples who work together in their restaurants. Over the next several months I will be dedicating blog posts to owners of Boston area restaurants and small businesses who contact me and respond to a questionnaire designed to capture their experience of owning, working, and operating a business together.

Send an email to if you’re interested in receiving a questionnaire and being featured in a future blog post. Media inquiries to same email, please. This is an opportunity for ‘Mom and Pop’ shops to tell their story and create content for their social media platforms. Please forward this post to anyone who might be interested in participating. Thank you.

4 Responses to “Boston ‘Mom and Pop’ Shops-Introduction”

  1. My husband and I own and run Bridgemans Restaurant on the south shore in Hull.

  2. Big Louie says:

    Working with a loved one is a challenge — a two-edged sword, sometimes. I did it with spouse #1 for 20 years and we both prospered, finally closing because the building was being razed by the landlord.

    My most recent venture involved a different significant other. It’s really weird you’ve mentioned this topic at this time, because we’re on break-up track — the express lane — at this very moment. It looks like there’s no rescuing this relationship. My S.O. couldn’t handle the kind of hours/work load/stress that I can. My fault — I thought they could.

    Ergo my decision *never* to include spouses/friends in the business. But that’s just me. Many of our local businesses are run by very happy, long-married couples.

  3. Julie King says:

    Thank you so much Pat for thinking on us!!!

  4. Doug Bacon says:

    I’ll nominate CARLO’S CUCINA on Brighton Avenue in Allston to be covered ion the Mom and Pop Shops posts. One of my favorite restaurants, always great hospitality.

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