Suppose I told you there was a company with 16,000 stores, focused obsessively on low prices, that caused great unhappiness among many who longed to return to a simpler time, a time when mom-and-pop stores dotted downtowns across the United States. What would you think?

If you thought it was Wal-Mart, you’d be wrong. I’ve been reading “The Great A&P and the Struggle for Small Business In America,” by Marc Levinson (Hill and Wang, 2011), and, although maximum angst among consumers happened in the 1930s and 1940s, it’s as fresh as today. Did you know, for instance, that FDR cronies essentially took the Hartford brothers to court and made them criminals? Could you guess why? Would you believe it was because A&P’s prices were too low? Honest, that’s it.

This is a beautifully written book. If you like learning about what can go right (and then, later, go wrong), this is a great end-of-summer read.

Have a great week and enjoy the cooler weather.

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Readers may write to Richard Hoe at Richard Hoe Investments, LLC, 5801 East 41st Street, Suite 715, Tulsa, OK 74135-5629, or email him at richardhoe@richardhoe.com. Mr. Hoe, an investment professional for 42 years, is a member of Prosperity Network’s five-person investment team, as well as an investment advisor representative and registered representative. Paul Ewing’s Kansas City-based Prosperity Advisory Group has over $2 billion in AUM. Mr. Hoe has been writing professionally for more than 50 years and is a member of the adjunct faculty at the California Institute of Finance, a graduate school at California Lutheran University that offers an M.B.A. in financial planning. He holds five designations, including Chartered Financial Consultant, Chartered Life Underwriter and Accredited Estate Planner, and is a member of both the Society of Financial Service Professionals and the Financial Planning Association. He helps edit each edition of Andy Kilpatrick’s “Of Permanent Value,” a book about Warren Buffett and Berkshire Hathaway published yearly in advance of each shareholder meeting.

This information is intended for financial professionals only, not the general public. This is not a solicitation to buy or sell any specific security. Mr. Hoe may have positions in the securities or other investments discussed. Investments in securities do not offer a fixed rate of return. Principal, yield and/or share price will fluctuate with changes in market conditions, and when sold or redeemed, one may receive more or less than originally invested.

Evaluation copies of software and review copies of books are sometimes furnished by publishers without charge; however Mr. Hoe only reviews books and programs he feels will of value to LIS readers and avoids writing reviews he feels would be of little interest to financial professionals.