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Shopkeeper

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The owner/proprietor/manager of a small retail store.

In The Western and many other low-population settings, the Shopkeeper 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.

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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. Don't even think about shoplifting.


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Examples:

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    Comic Books 
  • 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 mask of a jerkass 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.

    Literature 
  • Nels Oleson of Little House on the Prairie.
  • Mr. Grafton in Shane, though he's not the Meek Townsman; he keeps a sawed-off shotgun to protect his place and is so renowned for being tough but fair that he's the unofficial magistrate for the town.
  • Star Wars: Kenobi: Annileen Calwell owns and manages Dannar's Claim, a combination general store/livery/garage/restaurant/cantina, and the center of life in the Pika Oasis on Tatooine. The nearest small town, Bestine, has more services, but Dannar's Claim is more conveniently located for all of the local moisture farmers.

    Live-Action Television 
  • Gracie Leigh in Jericho. (And later Dale and Skyler after her death.)
  • Mr. Hooper of Sesame Street.
  • Sam Drucker on Green Acres and Petticoat Junction, with occasional crossover appearances on The Beverly Hillbillies. Also doubles as postmaster, newspaper editor/publisher, constable, Justice of the Peace, school superintendent, and part of the Hooterville Volunteer Fire Department.
    • Mr. Haney, Hooterville's local Honest John's Dealership salesman in Green Acres, just happens to show up with the very item the Douglases need whenever Oliver finds himself in need of that particular something, usually charging exorbitant prices for it.
  • Loren Bray, who ran the town general store on Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman.
  • Arkwright from Open All Hours, although he can be more of a Honest John's Dealership.
  • Ike Godsey on The Waltons
  • Black Saddle: In "Client: Meade", a shopkeeper in Latigo is the only witness to a shootout, and the only person who prove Clay's client is innocent of murder. However, he is a Meek Townsman who allows himself to be bullied by the dead man's family into perjuring himself: a decision with tragic consequences for just about everyone.
  • David Rose and Patrick Brewer own Rose Apothecary in the town of Schitt's Creek.

    Video Games 
  • 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.
  • Hometown Story is in part Harvest Moon with the player running a shop instead of a farm.
  • Shotgun-toting, easily provoked, and extremely deadly in Spelunky. It is all but impossible to meet a seasoned player who has never died to one.

    Western Animation 
  • 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.


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