cultivating the greyfields

If a recent visit to one of Philadelphia's premier retail attractions is any indication, America's specialty shopping destinations are in trouble. In late June, I visited Philly's South Street, a kitschy shopping district on the outskirts of Center City known for its funky shops and coffeehouses, "colorful" characters and plenty of places to pick up an authentic Philly cheesesteak.

Toward the end of my trip, I went into a shop called Mineralistic, which sells everything from stone goblins and Wiccan energy crystals to the remains of long-extinct trilobites. While studying the fossilized skull of a Mososaurus (a prehistoric crocodile with flippers instead of webbed claws), I heard two shopkeepers discussing business. One gentleman said the previous day


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