How San Francisco residents saved local businesses

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Borderlands Books is the largest English-language sci-fi, mystery, and horror book store in the world. Mission: Comics and Art is a combination comic book shop and art gallery. Both were preparing to close up shop in a tough retail environment as costs rose. Alan Beatts called a community meeting of his customers. A new idea came out of it – selling store memberships.

After an outpouring of support, he sold hundreds of memberships. Not only was he able to keep the store open; he expanded it. Mission: Comics and Art’s owner, Leef Smith, took a similar approach. Together, they’re keeping unique local businesses valued by the community alive in the Mission.

Is the future of retail using membership-based business models that monetize the community they provide? We also talk to both store owners as well as Doug Stephens, author of Reengineering Retail and The Retail Revival and self-described “Retail Prophet” and futurist.

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