The owner/proprietor/manager of a small retail store. In The Western and many other low-population settings, the Shop Keeper is the person who runs the "General Store" which sells (and sometimes buys) just about anything the locals or visitors could possibly need. He or she is a fairly important member of the community, since everyone visits their establishment while in town for vital supplies. This makes the general store a good informal meeting place and a handy source of local gossip. This kind of store is often the Only Shop in Town. In larger or more modernized communities, shopkeepers tend to be more specialized, at first between perishable items and "dry goods", and increasingly narrowing down to the point where one store might only sell candles and candle accessories, and half-a-dozen shops might need to be visited for a single day's shopping trip. A shopkeeper often fills the role of Meek Townsman in Western stories—he's got a business to protect, after all. Relatively rarely, one might be seen as a Corrupt Hick who uses the fact that he's the only source of supplies to dictate policy to the town. Asian Store-Owner is a subtrope of this common enough to merit its own page. If the merchant chooses to travel around to sell things instead of staying in one place, see Intrepid Merchant.
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