Letter: Explaining Formula Retail

Letter to the Editor

Why is European shoe repair a formula retail store? 

Because Measure R’s definition of formula retail makes it so. Shoe repair shops are not alone. The definition makes other outlets formula retail, including antique stores, candy stores, beauty shops, dentist offices, cleaners, nail salons, art galleries, hardware stores, etc. 

The definition doesn’t say formula retail stores have to be owned or controlled by one company or have a contract or agreement that requires maintaining two of the listed features. The measure can even define mom and pop stores as formula retail. 

What the definition does say is “’Formula retail’ means any type of retail sales activity and/or retail service activity conducted within a retail establishment that, along with ten or more other existing, operational retail establishments in the world, maintains two or more of the following features: 1) standardized array of merchandise or menu; 2) standardized color scheme; 3) standardized décor; 4) standardized façade; 5) standardized layout; 6) standardized signage, a service mark, or a trademark; and 7) uniform apparel.”

Search Google Images for shoe repair shops. There are hundreds of examples of standardized merchandise, décor, layout, service mark and uniform apparel. 

When I did the search, I was amazed to find an abundance of service mark signs that fall into three categories. The most common was a shoe with the word “repair” on it. Next, the same shoe with the words “shoe repair” emblazoned. Finally, the simple sign with just the words “shoe repair.” These shops all sell the same merchandise and all have the same equipment. The décor is all the same and in disarray. The standardized uniforms are shoemaker aprons. Voilà! By definition, a formula retail shoe repair shop, owned and operated by a local merchant. 

Antique stores all have signs that say “antiques” and merchandise that is the same and displayed the same. Candy stores all sell the same candy and, more often than not, have a décor that is dominated by barrels that display the goods. 

I could go on but I don’t want to spoil your searching. Enjoy. 

David J. Brotman