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As predictions of the coming retail grocery apocalypse flood in, one sector of the retail economy is sure to benefit from the Amazon/Whole Foods mash-up: the butchers, bakers, greengrocers, farmers markets and other specialty food retailers that make their homes on America’s Main Streets.

Without a doubt, thanks to Whole Foods, Amazon can deliver better premium grocery selections more efficiently and conveniently to American shoppers. But despite sophisticated algorithms and internet-powered technology, what Amazon and its big-box Whole Foods partner can’t deliver is a more personal customer experience that can only come face-to-face, hand-to-hand, person-to-person.

That is where Main Street retailers excel and as people get more deeply imprisoned by their techno-powered lives, they increasingly crave that personal connection that only specialty retailers who are authentically part of the local community can deliver. When time allows or they simply want to get out of the house and mingle, people will increasingly want to shop for food grown, prepared and offered by their neighbors, not with impersonal big business conglomerates.

This is a trend that I explore in my book, Shops that POP!. Specialty retailers’ roots in their local community are one of their secret weapons. Take Charlottesville, VA-based Feast!, a specialty food store devoted to locally-made artisan cheese, wine, breads, produce and other gourmet foodstuffs. Feast! also operates a café so hungry customers don’t have to…