Difference between Shop and Store

Key Difference: According to many people the term ‘shop’ is used to refer to a small place that sells products and merchandise. While, ‘stores’ are saved for the big stores such as a department store that may hold multiple shops. Now, another difference that is highlighted in usage is that ‘shop’ refers to any place that provides a service or customizable products. A ‘store’ is considered a place where objects are sold.

The terms ‘shop’ and ‘store’ are often confusing because of its widespread usage referring to places that offer goods and merchandise for sale. There is no set definition that distinguishes the two words from each other. The major difference comes from how the words are used and where they are used. The terms are used different depending on the country.

According to many people the term ‘shop’ is used to refer to a small place that sells products and merchandise. While, ‘stores’ are saved for the big stores such as a department store that may hold multiple shops. The shop is usually a small, store that offers goods at a competitive price. Shops can also refer to small neighborhood establishments that sell grocery products such as milk, eggs, bread, etc. A store would be a larger premise that combines groceries with household supplies.

Now, another difference that is highlighted in usage is that ‘shop’ refers to any place that provides a service or customizable products. Examples would include a coffee shop, barber shop, butcher shop, etc. These places offer customizable products that can be altered depending on the customer’s need. These are places things are crafted, prepared, or repaired, particularly by hand. A ‘store’ is considered a place where objects are sold such as a department store, chain store, a thrift store, etc.

The term ‘shop’ has also become a proper noun and has been incorporated in the names of many company stores such as The Body Shop, Gift Shop, The Fragrance Shop, etc. This again depends on the owner of the store as to what he/she wants to name their outlet.

The Free Dictionary defines ‘shop’ as:

  • A small retail store or a specialty department in a large store.
  • An atelier; a studio.
  • A place for manufacturing or repairing goods or machinery.
  • A commercial or industrial establishment: a printing shop.
  • A business establishment; an office or a center of activity.
  • A home workshop.

‘Store’ is defined as:

  • A place where merchandise is offered for sale; a shop.
  • A stock or supply reserved for future use: a squirrel's store of acorns.
  • Stores supplies, especially of food, clothing, or arms.
  • A place where commodities are kept; a warehouse or storehouse.
  • A great quantity or number; an abundance.

The difference between the two changes depending on the individual. These days the lines between a shop and store are blurred to the point where there is no appropriate distinction. These words are used synonymously by many corporations or owners. Many shops refer to themselves as stores. Hence, it can be used synonymously. 

Image Courtesy: shorpy.com, mocadetroit.org

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