The Store-Front Cat

In any city worthy of the name are many commercial areas about three blocks long—clusters of small shops that offer shoe repair, vegetables, insurance, gourmet coffee, used books, real estate, flowers, and greeting cards. They have changed little over half a century. Needlework stores may give way to rapid printing, or dry cleaners to laundromats, but the dominant characteristic of the neighborhood shopping street remains the same, a permanence unchallenged by even the glossiest shopping mall.

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