Time was you could drop acid on Bedford Avenue and wander around for miles, tripping the light fantastic in quirky mom and pop stores, far away from the foul stench of Subway and fluorescent-lit satanic ritual that is CVS self-checkout. But alas, those unfettered days are gone: according to a new report from the New York City Center for an Urban Future, chain stores are swarming the outer boroughs.
Each of the four outer boroughs saw sharp upticks in chain retail stores during 2016, with the Bronx getting the worst of it. 36 new national chain storefronts opened in the borough, amounting to a 4.2 percent increase. Brooklyn has taken on 35 new chains during the same period, which given its large size only amounts to a 2.3 percent uptick, but damn those Munchkins™ are everywhere.
For the eighth year in a row, Dunkin Donuts tops the CUF list for
worst capitalist virus most popular national chain in NYC, and with 24 new stores this year its total now sits at 596 locations. Coming in second is Subway, which (mercifully) downsized its local operations and now has "only" 433 locations, 12 less than last year.
Also suspiciously buried deep in the report is the revelation that Staten Island is home to NYC's only Build-A-Bear location. Do with that knowledge what you will.
Rounding out the top ten national retailers extracting wages and alienating across the five boroughs are MetroPCS, Starbucks, Duane Reade/Walgreens, T-Mobile, Baskin Robbins, McDonald's, Rite Aid, and CVS. The one bright spot? Retail chain store presence actually shrunk in Manhattan over the past year, although the borough still hosts double the amount of any other borough. The final total of national chains in NYC stands at 7,154.
Still, a few national chains have chosen to close all their local outposts, pack their bags, and move back to Wisconsin to live with their parents. Those quitters include Gordon's Jewelers, OfficeMax, Benetton, and Hollywood Tans.
In a separate report, the CUF has detailed how the hyper-expensive real estate market and competition for busy locations is the greatest hurdle for small businesses trying to get a foothold in NYC. Hey, at least we're getting a Wegman's, maybe?