Good Marts, an upscale convenience store which now has a location in NYC, may be opening more outposts here in the near future. Michigan native, PR veteran, and the shop's owner Rachel Krupa says she hopes to open 50 more new Marts in the next 5 years (currently there is one in Los Angeles, as well). When we spoke with her this week she said she's currently eyeing the Lower East Side or Bushwick for upcoming shops.
Krupa didn't grow up with bodegas, so she's mostly using her rural town's Sunoco and grocery store as some nostalgic inspiration for her business. A crucial part of her plan is to create a space to foster community interaction, but at the core, Krupa wants deliver healthier alternatives and essentials to those one may grab at their local corner store. Good Marts swaps out the heavily processed, global-conglomerate-produced beverages, snacks, and staples you find at a normal convenience store with ethically-made, eco-friendly products, usually from small businesses.
Of course, this all comes with higher prices, and some skepticism—is Goop Glow (one of the products in the shop) really an essential?
Organic Candy Corn and Goop Glow. (Scott Lynch / Gothamist)
Sunoco inspiration aside, Krupa did express a love for bodegas as well, telling us, "I love bodegas too! And while we might look a little different with our black & white minimalism, we have the same inspired charm and are constantly looking to keep our prices low and selections surprising and local."
While Krupa claims, "We are definitely not upscale or luxurious by any means," some may balk at that. Goop products are definitely a luxury, and while she says it's the most expensive item in the shop, they are selling an $18 maple syrup (from Hudson Valley Harvest), a luxury item by any measure.
"We try very hard at keeping our prices low," says Krupa, "but with these quality products it isn’t possible to have the same prices as a 7-Eleven. That said, you can get an organic, local apple here for 50-cents, or a cup of La Colombe coffee for $1.25, and we’re working toward accepting EBT/Snaps here in NYC like we do in our first store in Los Angeles." Other products include Kombucha, and CBD drinks. Most of the inventory comes at a higher price point than the items on sale at local delis.
"Everyone is looking to be healthier no matter the income level," Krupa told Gothamist. (Which is true, and there is an ongoing effort to bring healthier food into the city's bodegas.) She added, "If we can help provide those products, we’re happy—it’s our mission." The rules for making it onto the shop's shelves: no GMOs, artificial flavoring, or preservatives allowed.
Krupa also hopes to immerse her stores in the communities they serve. "While we sell physical goods, we are also looking to do good," she says. "There are a few specific things we’re doing to build the connection amongst everyone. Each month, for example, we donate all of our tips to a local charity that immediately affects our area." The first was the NYC Park’s Stewardship Program. She added that they also "organize community events, bringing neighbors together for local volunteer efforts. We’re also looking to partner with local charities, so we’re constantly giving back to existing frameworks, as well as conducting community driven mixers and events."
The Goods Mart also sells ready-to-eat food. There are pre-made sandwiches from the excellent Alidoro; burritos from the team behind the acclaimed, Jonathan Gold-approved L.A. outfit Burritos La Palma, which you can heat up in the microwave near the coffee machines (the Chicken one, though it looked rather uninspired, packed a ton of flavor); and two kinds of organic slushies from Kelvin's. West~bourne and Loosie's Kitchen are among the other local operations with grab-n-go items on offer.
Krupa has big plans for The Goods Mart, and intends to expand in NYC, California, and her home state of Michigan. She hopes to also open a few in institutions like hospitals, where both visitors and employees often have few healthy (or tasty) options.
The Goods Mart is located at 189 Lafayette Street between Broome and Grand Streets (212-226-7641; thegoodsmart.com)