More than 1,000 chain stores in New York City have closed over the past year, the largest year-over-year decline in over a decade. According to the Center for an Urban Future’s annual “State of the Chains” report, nearly one out of every seven chain retailers open at this time last year is now closed, due to the coronavirus pandemic coupled with the continued growth of e-commerce. Even Dunkin’, the city’s largest retailer, closed 18 locations in 2020, the first time the coffee chain experienced a decline since CUF began tracking chains 13 years ago.
The number of chain stores in New York City dropped for the second consecutive year, down 3.7 percent in 2019, according to a new report. Despite this decline in retailers, two stores continue to grow across the five boroughs: Dunkin’ and Metro by T-Mobile. The Center for an Urban Future’s annual “State of the Chains” report found that the coffee chain is the city’s largest national retailer with 636 total stores, adding 12 locations since 2018, followed by the cell phone store, formerly called MetroPCS, which operates 468 stores citywide.
Image via Google Earth.
A planned expansion by Target into several Queens neighborhoods has run afoul of politicians and community groups. The chain store hopes to open new stores in Astoria and Elmhurst by 2022, but activists in the borough have been fighting to stop the new additions, objecting to the fact that they’ll replace mom-and-pop stores and concerned about the effects of gentrification in their neighborhoods. Another concern is that Target’s non-union workforce will replace union jobs, The City reports.
McNally Jackson bookstore on Prince Street. Image by Carl Mikoy via Flickr.
Bad news took a U-turn at the start of this year when beloved independent bookstore McNally Jackson announced that it would not be closing its doors on Prince Street in Soho after all. The news came a few months after after owner Sarah McNally, who opened the store in 2004, announced the store would be moving out of the neighborhood due to a 136 percent rent increase (from $350,000 to $850,000). The flagship location of the bookstore is not merely staying open; it will be launching new branches in Williamsburg and Laguardia Airport, and as New York Magazine reports, is on an expansion binge of sorts with stores planned for South Street Seaport and Downtown Brooklyn‘s new City Point complex.
Image: Wikimedia commons
Even as New York City continues to experience record financial growth, a small explosion of fast food chains within city limits still comes as somewhat of a surprise. A recent Crain’s article confirms that, even more surprisingly, McDonalds, perhaps the fast-foodiest of all, is not only expanding but polishing up its image to appeal to a more upscale market–and it’s working. You might just chalk it up to a sweeping takeover by big chain stores, but isn’t that about gentrification? Fast food has traditionally had a big presence in the city’s lower-income neighborhoods–known as “food swamps“–and in tourist areas. But the nation’s largest Chick-fil-A just opened in…the Financial District. Reasons for the latest fast food boom are many, it turns out, and extend beyond mere mallification.
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.
- Quitting chain stores cold turkey and shopping only local in NYC isn’t easy. [Jeremiah’s Vanishing NY]
- Charting the emotions of every room in the house. [CityLab]
- New York City, particularly Brooklyn, has more female-run startups than anywhere else in the country. [Animal]
- Can American art museums continue to afford to be free to the public? [artnet]
- The Flatiron Building gets the LEGO treatment. [Inhabitat]
- You won’t find that pesky Allen wrench in this cardboard room-in-a-box, which can be set up in ten minutes. [Fast Co. Design]
You know rent is too damn high when mega chains like Starbucks start looking for cheaper spaces. The Commercial Observer reports that the city’s rising rents are actually driving the coffee giant to less popular side streets as many of the leases inked for stores opened up some 15–20 years ago are coming up for renewal. Starbucks is currently paying just a fraction of what the market is demanding on a chunk of their more than 200 Manhattan locales, and they could soon see an end to several of their most popular shops.
Image via Flickr
Does it feel like there’s either a Starbucks, Chase Bank, or Duane Reade on every corner? Well, that’s actually quite a realistic feeling. According to the Center for an Urban Future‘s seventh annual State of the Chains report, national retailers in New York City experienced a 2.8 percent increase in 2014, the largest jump in four years and the sixth straight year to see a net increase. Queens is experiencing the fastest growth in new stores, and coffee king Dunkin Donuts maintains its top spot for the seventh year running with a total of 536 locations, 21 more than last year.