Usu of a retail business: of a type typically owned and operated by a married couple, who do a large share of the work themselves, perh with the assistance of other family members; hence nouns mom-and-pop, mom-pop a business of this type.
1942 El Paso Herald–Post (TX) 9 Jan 4/3, [Westbrook Pegler column:] Often he is a small employer who is commanded to disemploy his own wife or daughter in a little mom-and-pop store and hire an outsider from the union. 1947 Daily Chron. (Centralia WA) 13 Feb 7/4, [Advt:] Yep, been eight years since we started on the corner as a little Mom ’n’ Pop store. 1955 Lima News (OH) 17 Apr sec D 10/8, [Advt:] Mom and Pop Store—Lima location, this is a good deal for middle aged couple. 1964 Oakland Tribune (CA) 30 June 41/3, [Advt:] 5½ Day Mom ’n Pop Restaurant—Low rent. . . Very clean, well located on MacArthur. 1967 NY Times (NY) 16 Nov 77/4, Some units, such as the “mom-and-pops,” are franchised by national companies. 1976 News (Pt. Arthur TX) 14 Nov sec D 6/2, But in other local areas the neighborhood “mom and pop” stores may be a passing institution. 1988 Daily Herald (Arlington Heights IL) 17 Aug sec 3 7/5, It’s [sic] typical store is 3,000 square feet and stocks 5,000 to 8,000 movies, larger than a mom an pop but more compact than a superstore. 1993 Frederick Post (MD) 15 Jan sec D 6/2, [Advt:] Country Bar & Restaurant—Good mom & pop operation. 1998 Telegraph (Alton IL) 26 Oct sec A 7/6, He thinks a “mom and pop” restaurant that serves sandwiches, coffee and doughnuts would be a nice addition to Old Town. . . “A ‘mom and pop’ may work out, but not out of million dollar buildings.” 2013 Tartt Goldfinch 489 NYC, There was a mom-and-pop drugstore across the street. 2013–14 DARE Online Surv. WI Engl. (Qu. U1d, Names for a small neighborhood store owned and operated by a family) 38 Infs, Mom-and-pop; 8 Infs, Mom-and-pop store; 4 Infs, Mom-and-pop shop; 1 Inf, Mom-pop. [48 of 82 eligible Infs who responded to this question, from 14 of 22 represented target communities; See Suppl Maps]