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Rax Roast Beef: a peek inside one of the last locations of a once-mighty 80s chain.

“Fast food with style.”  That’s the motto that I, coming of age in the late 80s and early 90s, associate the most with Rax Roast Beef.  But let’s face it: when this formerly thriving restaurant began floundering, the slogans shifted with the seasons.  Thirty years later, it’s hard to say which marketing campaign is the

DC food desert: South Anacostia has a single holdout supermarket.  Will it survive?

The term itself doesn’t usually require much explanation, even if most people have never used the it in everyday conversation.  They automatically know what a food desert is.  For those who don’t, it takes very little to conceptualize: if a person lives in an urbanized area—and most Americans do—odds are good that he or she

Vintage retail video: is Kmart in 1999 better than anything today?

After inadvertently stumbling across some vintage footage of shopping culture from yesteryear, I couldn’t help but ask myself: Is it reasonable, at this point, to compare the revolution in how we consume goods with the old cliché of a boiling frog?  How much longer before we the frogs feel the temperature climbing?  Using any vintage

Brand refresh: Barnes & Noble goes on a tear. No books destroyed in the process.

A quick look at the photo above and it should be obvious that something’s afoot at this particular location of Barnes and Noble.  Incidentally, I only heavily scrutinized a Barnes and Noble once before, also in Maryland, when I noticed a repositioning of merchandise within the interior just a few months ago.  This time, the

Corporate bookstores morph and recede: are they keeping up with the 1990s?

For the book-lovers among us, it’s hard to believe that Borders Books and Music has been defunct now for over ten years.  It was one of the first and most obvious high-profile casualties of Amazon, the latter of which nipped away at the revenue stream of what had previously been the nation’s largest bookstore, peaking

Family-run fiascos: small business as a coronavirus casualty deserves a post-mortem.

As the end of 2022 approaches, it’s essentially a truism that coronavirus-inspired closures devastated many small businesses.  For a brief period, the unemployment rate was as high as 14.4% (the rate in April 2020), a condition on par with the peak of the Great Recession, but it got there much more quickly this time around. 

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