Cornerstones at the Grassroots

Small business owners are the backbone of local communities in Shanghai. They take pride in the businesses they have built through hard work and attention to customers.

An all-rounder in the tools of cricket rearing

Bai Zixiao's specialty is the ancient Chinese pastime of keeping the insects as pets or for cricket fighting.

Coffee and collecting create cottage charm

In the Normandy Apartments, a vintage landmark of Xuhui District, the recently opened Cottage Cafe & Bar lends an extra retro touch to an area with memories of the early 1900s.

Holes begone! The oh-sew delicate skill of mending

Every day for the past 26 years, Cao Shuhua has been patching clothing for people from a small stall on Tianyaoqiao Road in Xuhui District, weather permitting.

Zzzzz ... shop specializes in perfect sleep

The shop specializing in the soft filler for duvets in Huangpu District may be the only one in Shanghai that still sells the cozy quilt material.

Belle of the ball

It's all about ingredients, says the owner of a popular eatery specializing in sticky rice balls. But a lot of gritty determination went into creating this small business.

Music boxes play eternal tunes of craft art

You may think of music boxes as toys. That's not how one passionate collector views these vintage pieces of precision artwork spanning centuries of craftsmanship.

Fewer readers bollix bookshop

Booksellers used to be community mainstays, and readers used to be plentiful. But in the digital age, one traditional shopkeeper is struggling to stay afloat.

Heart and sole and comfy feet

Eighty-year-old Yang Shenxi has devoted his entire life to making traditional cloth shoes. His small shop in suburban Shanghai was opened a century ago by his grandfather.

Popular roast duck shop gains unwanted attention

After Huang's Roast Duck takeaway was "discovered" by the media, the humble owner found his quiet life disrupted, though business boomed.