But should the small capitalist still prefer opening in a suburban district, where competition is less severe, and rents and rates less burdensome, there are certain precautions which he will do well to observe. He should particularly guard against opening a shop to supply what may bo termed the superfluities of life; for the inhabitants of suburban districts are those who, like himself, have resorted to a cheap residence for the sake of economy. Or, if this be not the case -if they are people of independent means, who prefer the "detached villa" to the town-house, squeezed up on both sides, they have the means of riding and driving to town, and will prefer choosing articles of taste and luxury from the best marts, enriched by the finest display.
The suburban shopkeeper should, therefore, confine himself to supplying the necessities of life. Hungry people dislike to fetch their bread from five miles off; and to bring vegetables from a long distance would evidently be a matter of considerable inconvenience. The baker, the butcher, the green-grocer, the beer retailer, etc, are those who find their successes first established in suburban localities. And not until these are doing well, should the tailor, the shoemaker, the hatter, the draper, the hosier, and others, expect to find return for their capital and reward for their labour.
In larger localities, where competition abounds, the small shopkeeper frequently outstrips his more powerful rival by one element of success, which may be added to any stock without cost, but cannot be withheld without loss. That element is civility. It has already been spoken of elsewhere, but must be enforced here, as aiding the little means of the small shopkeeper to a wonderful degree. A kind and obliging manner carries with it an indescribable charm. It must not be a manner which indicates a mean, grovelling, time-serving spirit, but a plain, open, and agreeable demeanour, which seems to desire to oblige for the pleasure of doing so, and not for the sake of squeezing an extra penny out of a customer's pocket.
The large shopkeeper frequently grows proud of his position; there are many little civilities which customers like, but which the large shopkeeper may be too busy or unwilling to pay. He forgets that these civilities are the steps by which he rose, and that the withdrawal of them must lead to his rapid descent. These are the points upon which large traders are often weak, and where the small trader finds them vulnerable. Punctuality, cleanliness, the neat arrangement of the stock, the attractiveness of to window, the absence of all absurd puffing, the early and regular opening of the shop in the morning, and the attention paid to every one entering it - these are the secrets of the small shopkeeper'6 success against the influence of giant capital. They are a series of charms before which even gold itself must yield its potent influence.