, Wed, September 13, 2017
Image via Bodega
The loss of small businesses throughout cities nationwide is already an escalating issue to rising rents and online delivery platforms, but more and more new physical business models are also looking to edge out mom-and-pops and brick-and-mortar retail establishments in general. Take for example a new startup called Bodega, which, you guessed it, wants to replace your actual bodega (they’ve even made their logo a “bodega cat”). Started by two former Google employees, the concept puts unmanned pantries in offices, gyms, dorms, or apartment buildings and stocks them with convenience store staples like non-perishable snacks and beverages, toiletries, cleaning supplies, and even fitness equipment, using a special computer vision system to track purchases (h/t Fast Company).
Yesterday we asked the question, “Are the city’s bodegas becoming a thing of the past?” As we noted, “many of these tiny shops have been scrambling to stay in business. The city’s roughly 12,000 bodegas are losing customers.” According to the Times, 75 have already shuttered this year. Typically, we pin this on rising rents and the influx of chain stores, but another likely culprit could be New Yorkers’ changing habits and needs. Many of us are buying more health foods and fresh produce and less of the packaged goods and cigarettes that bodegas often offer. To test this theory, we want to know your retail habits.
The Times highlights the plight of the city’s iconic local bodegas, tiny grocery-slash-beer-slash-whatever-the-local-patrons-need shops that have long been a colorful cornerstone of everyday life in the city’s neighborhoods. Photographer Gail Victoria Braddock Quagliata even spent nine months pounding the pavements of Manhattan in a quest to photograph every single one of its bodegas.
But many of these tiny shops have been scrambling to stay in business. The city’s roughly 12,000 bodegas are losing customers. About 75 have closed this year according to the Times, many in uptown neighborhoods like Inwood, Washington Heights and Harlem. Though that proportion is small, many shop owners are concerned.
Read more on the plight of local bodegas