Challenging economic times have merchants seeking to make the most of every inch of their store spaces, a need that's leading to the creation of hybrid stores sporting everything from combination Laundromat/bars to a housewares store that also offers brunch. "A bike shop or Laundromat is sort of a generic item -- and customers won't say, 'Oh, that's my favorite Laundromat!' unless they did something dramatically different," says Kevin Mullaney of the Grayson Co., a retail consulting firm.

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