New Yorkers love their bodegas. They’re close therefore convenient, they have everything even if it’s a bit dearer than elsewhere and they’ll let you run a tab till payday. And everyone knows everyone who comes in. Yes the reasons why bodegas are awesome are many.
But many New Yorkers worry that rents are rising so high, especially in Manhattan, that the day of the bodega is over. They vfear they will vanish and all that will be left is a 7/11 on every corner which is not he same at all. And there’s no denying quite a few have folded and a 7/11 or another chain has moveed in. Yet if you factor in the resilience of the bodega business model and there’s no reason to cry ‘uncle’ just yet.
First up, in theory supermarket shopping is cheaper and the choice of products is much broader. But in the tightly packed and built up environment of NYC it’s hard to slot in supermarkets even smaller ones. And the majority of New Yorkers live in 1-2 person households many of them in walkup apartments. Schlepping bags of groceries up 4 flights is not much fun. New Yorkers work so hard the last thing they want to do when stocking up is stand in long queues with a shopping trolley.
So despite higher prices the local bodega has heaps going for it. The little and often buying routine suits New Yorkers. And the business model of the bodega makes it veery resilient to rising rents. Most are run by families. So rent is the only overhead most have to cover. The rest is shared around with the rest of the family. Listen to the bodega guy in the video and you will realise he’s supported by a whole heap of family memers helping him run his bodega. And family members fit in their part time bodega work around College, other jobs, raising families or whatever is part of their family dynamic. A chain like 7-11 has overheads a family run bodega never has to meet
So while there are busy parts of NYC where redevelopemnt costs are astronomical, a family run bodega can absorb a lot of rent increases and still run a money making business. The proof is new bodegas are still opening up, usually around busy hubs like subway stops where people pour off trains and grab something on the way home or a quick coffee and bacon and egg sandwich as they head off in the morning. So don’t give up on bodegas. They are still alive and thriving in most of NYC.