The small independent stores of ghetto neighbourhoods are isolated from information and skills required in modern retail businesses. The retail revolution of the last twenty years has generated various types of local merchant associations for establishing common shopping hours and practices, conducting common advertising and promotion campaigns and providing a balanced set of customer services. Through these efforts, markets and profits have been increased. However, in many urban inner city communities, independent neighbourhood stores attempt to serve overlapping areas without the use of such cooperative structures or associated marketing methods. The threat of theft makes the merchant hesitant to leave his premises, and thus he remain isolated with little time to seek cooperative action with competitors whom he fears. As a result of not having the variety of stock needed to serve a large area, local businesses cannot compete with large outlets and community buying is done elsewhere. A move to some form of specialization seems risky and may merely catalyze another round of competition which would cost the merchant the few customers he now serves regularly.