Skip to main content
Move the World.

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.

Up Next

Future of Fertility
Why Don’t Women’s Health Companies Get Adequate Funding?
women's health
Future of Fertility
Why Don’t Women’s Health Companies Get Adequate Funding?
Celmatix Founder and CEO Piraye Beim gives an inside look into the battle to secure funding for women's health.
By Julia Sklar

Celmatix Founder and CEO Piraye Beim gives an inside look into the battle to secure funding for women's health.

Future of Cities
Human Composting Could Help Crowded Cities Bury Their Dead Sustainably
Human Composting Could Help Crowded Cities Bury Their Dead Sustainably
Future of Cities
Human Composting Could Help Crowded Cities Bury Their Dead Sustainably
Working toward sustainability, cities are searching for ways to make funerals more eco-friendly. Green burials and human composting could be the solution.
By Tien Nguyen

Working toward sustainability, cities are searching for ways to make funerals more eco-friendly. Green burials and human composting could be the solution.

Sustainability
These Scientists Extract Plastic From Bacteria
These Scientists Extract Plastic From Bacteria
Sustainability
These Scientists Extract Plastic From Bacteria
By 2050, there may be more plastic by weight in the ocean than there are fish. Canadian innovator Luna Yu hopes to change this by turning waste into biodegradable plastics.

By 2050, there may be more plastic by weight in the ocean than there are fish. To add to that, 1.3 billion tons of the food produced each year globally is wasted or lost. Canadian innovator Luna Yu hopes to transform these problems by turning waste into biodegradable plastics.

Funding Health Care with Coffee
Funding Health Care with Coffee
Watch Now
Funding Health Care with Coffee
What if your daily coffee helped save a life?
Watch Now

Pheo Coffee isn’t your everyday coffee company — it’s paying for critical medical treatments in developing countries. Founder and physician Larry Istrail saw that millions of people worldwide were suffering because they couldn’t pay for basic medical care — while in America we're drinking millions of cups of coffee a day. He decided to make a difference by starting a coffee company whose proceeds would go toward creating a...

Dispatches
Driverless Cars Go Off-roading
Driverless Cars Go Off-roading
Dispatches
Driverless Cars Go Off-roading
Computer-game simulations can train self-driving cars to navigate in the real world.
By Matthew Doude, Christopher Goodin, and Daniel Carruth

Computer-game simulations can train self-driving cars to navigate in the real world.

Teaching Engineering with Dirt Bikes
Teaching Engineering with Dirt Bikes
Watch Now
Teaching Engineering with Dirt Bikes
This teacher is using dirt bikes to help Baltimore's kids learn STEM.
Watch Now

Baltimore’s kids are obsessed with dirt bikes. Some people think that's a problem, but teacher Brittany Young is using dirt bikes to get kids into engineering and STEM education. Her organization, B-360 Baltimore, aims to use dirt bike culture to help end the cycle of poverty, disrupt the prison pipeline, and bring together communities — while giving dirt bikes a better reputation. Dirt bikes are a controversial issue in...

Challengers
Failure is Inevitable, But It Doesn't Have to Ruin Your Life
Failure is Inevitable, But It Doesn't Have to Ruin Your Life
Challengers
Failure is Inevitable, But It Doesn't Have to Ruin Your Life
Why learning to suck at something is the only way to get good at it.
By Mike Riggs

Why learning to suck at something is the only way to get good at it.

Challengers
Building a Better School System
Building a Better School System
Watch Now
Challengers
Building a Better School System
A highly-personalized experience could be the foundation for the future of education.
Watch Now

Everyone wants America’s education system to do better. Ex-Googler Max Ventilla has a radical idea for how to make it happen. Ventilla’s AltSchool is building a highly-personalized education experience that gets better and cheaper as more students use it.