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David Squires

Cool Memories: The Birth of ‘America’s Coolest Stores’

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HARD TO BELIEVE that we’re already up to our sixth year of presenting one of our most important annual features — America’s Coolest Stores. Where has the time gone?

Looking back at that inaugural edition from 2002 is definitely a blast from the past. I remember it seemed like such a big, difficult, time-consuming project at the time that we weren’t sure we’d ever do another. Now I look at it … and it’s 12 pages. 12! (In order to save on printing, we crammed several stores onto each page — mostly by running photos the approximate size of postage stamps. Sigh … memories.)  

That was then, this is now. This year, our America’s Coolest Stores edition brings you the very best of more than 100 entries, nearly 2,000 photo files, and the work of no fewer than 25 different people. The final product has more than 90 pages of images, stories, advice, and professional insights … and the most incredible group of winners we’ve ever assembled. 

New to this edition is a feature called “How We Got There.” It’s there because some of you — not many, but a highly vocal few — have put forward the view that some of the megastores we cover aren’t relevant to the average retailer. “How We Got There” is our attempt to show you they are relevant. Twenty years ago, many of these people were like many of you — running small stores, struggling, trying to make ends meet. Just look at them now. Two of this year’s winners even got their start sweeping the floors.  

Enjoy the inspiration of America’s Coolest Stores 2007.

Wishing you the very best business …

David Squires

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David Squires is the Group Editorial Director of SmartWork Media. He believes that the first role of business media is to inspire readers.

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