I may not understand fully, how traditional neighborhood businesses still survive this days, as with giant hypermarket coming up, slashing prices in half, buying and selling in bulk, small neighborhood business just couldn't compete and is losing in every single ways.
When I was young, I used to followed my aunt to the grocery when I am not having classes in the morning... those were some gruesome period which I would never understand, cause it always involved long, draggy conversation and less buying. Why buy here? There are less variety and price aren't that cheap either.
It took me sometime before I realize that the shop owner is not striving on cheaper price or better produce but merely opening day by day, to keep them occupy and have something to do and work around, especially when their young ones had already been working elsewhere. This neighborhood business gives people a sense of home, warm feeling where everyone in the neighborhood knows each other, buying stuffs are more like secondary for the aunties and grandma, but more of joining a social club where they talk, say hello and keep conversation going before is time to grab their produce home and cook a lunch or dinner for the family. As their once big family is now getting smaller, they could easily buy produce in smaller portion, just enough so they could come by here again in the next morning and keep the conversation alive. At times, when the owner is in a good mood, he/ she might throw in some extras for you in the bag.
Kudos to all that still able to keep their business alive at such tough times!