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.
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
. Don't even think about shoplifting
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- An EC Comics story featured a drugstore owner who was miserly, paranoid and exceedingly crabby. During the story, he flips out when a little girl sets up a lemonade stand in front of his store. He's so obnoxious about this "competition" that the locals buy her lemonade just to spite him. Since this is an EC Comic, it turns out that he's the one secretly supplying the little girl's lemonade. He built up a Jerkass Fašade over decades to prevent people from taking advantage of him, and just can't get himself to drop it for genuine charity cases.
- Jonathon and Martha Kent in the Pre Crisis Superboy stories ran a general store in Smallville.
- Very common in RPGs in general.
- Tom Nook, the
raccoon tanuki proprietor of the local store in every Animal Crossing village. From Wild World on, the Able Sisters nearby specialize in clothing, accessories, and umbrellas.
- Hachi, retired Orange Star CO from the Advance Wars games (Wars World trilogy).
- Rinnosuke, The One Guy from Touhou who sells antiques and rarities in the human village.
- Recette, the main character of the Simulation Game/Action RPG Recettear: An Item Shop's Tale.
- Fantasy Quest's shopkeeper is a warm befuddled man who refuses to talk of matters above his station.
- An Animaniacs story set in Old Salem featured a witch hunter who accused the shopkeeper of being a witch on the mere grounds the shopkeeper was holding a broom. The characters singing about the witch hunter then pointed out even the shopkeeper isn't safe from him just to show how much he should be feared.