Friday, August 1, 2008

It's not your imagination

From today's Post of New York:

A new study shows what many an old-time New Yorker has been griping about for years - chain stores appear to be taking over.
In its first-ever ranking of national retailers in the city, the Center for an Urban Future yesterday published its list of chains with the most outlets in the five boroughs.
Dunkin' Donuts took the title with 341, ahead of upscale coffee competitor Starbucks, which came in fourth at 235.
The pricey java joint did rank No. 1 in Manhattan with 186, ahead of 78 for Dunkin', which concentrates on the outer boroughs.
Jonathan Bowles, director of the center, a nonpartisan think tank, said he and his researchers conducted the study because, well, they were curious.
"We've been hearing so much talk about the proliferation of national chains in New York and how mom-and-pop stores have been pushed out of the city, but it struck me that there was so little data," he told The Post. "We wanted to provide a backdrop to this discussion."

Download a PDF of the survey here.

Oh. Oops. Sorry. I missed that everyone covered this Gothamist...the Observer...Crain's...

[Dunkin' Donuts photo by EV Grieve]


Anonymous said...

Dunkin Donuts is a wonderful chain. Remember each one is a franchise, unlike Starbucks which is corporate owned. Guys who run these DD's put their family blood sweat and tears into the operations. Starbucks is the epitome of faceless corporate greed. Plus DD, IMHO, is much better than Fourbucks and always has been. I think people are finally smartening up and realizing that Starbucks was a Vulcan mindmeld they are just now waking up from, minus about $4.00 a weekday for the past 8 years, which adds up to $2,080.00 per hipster douche.

Joshua said...

Yes, that's true for most of the fast-food chains like Dunkin' Donuts or McDonald's--they're franchises rather than centralized outposts.
Anyway, I never bothered worrying about the chains that are looked on as lower class (that is, not "hip"), since they don't attract roving young wealth anymore than small family businesses, and thus they're impact on surrounding commercial rents are minimal. Now, I know most of them are trying to change this image as a matter of survival as their original target populations are displaced, and that's why DD today puts so much emphasis on it's elaborate ice coffees and McDonald's is pushing it's "healthy" menu (as well as renovating certain locations--such as the one on Chambers Street--to look more like nightclubs; that is, an environment the yunnie would be more comfortable in), so maybe this is no longer true. Still, fast-food joints are still opened to service the population extent in the neighbohood at the time they are opened, not to help anchor an incoming population (the way Starbucks does), so I they're not destabalizing the way the luxury chains are.

Zimpo said...

Finally, after wandering around the city feeling like I was in a surreal version of "Body Snatchers" (which of course is the case with the new genre of residents), I feel a sense of affirmation. My method of avoiding the mallification that's dominating the city, is to restrict where I spend the most time. So while I can't avoid Tribeca, because I work there, I spend weekends where there's the least damage. It's getting more difficult....

Joshua said...

I feel sorry for you that you have to be in Tribeca everyday. I hate that place.
There was a time when I had to be in that area frequently, but back then we still called it "The Financial District", close to something called the "World Trade Center", and was very different in character and makeup. Today the place looks a lot like an NBC sitcom set, and I'm glad to be away from it.

Anonymous said...

It looks like the view toward the supposed low end fast food chains (i.e. BK, MCD) is a changing. A few short years (heck, months) ago they were looked at as evil. I think their great low cost food options. Sure you can't live on the stuff but it'll keep you alive, cheaply.

Joshua said...

I never thought they were evil. In fact, I used to get uneasy when they would get lumped together with upscale chains, seeing as how they've lived peacefully with us for many decades. DD, MickyDees, BK, KFC, etc (even Duane Reade), were all here loooong before the first yunnie set his flip-flopped foot on New York soil, and were not causes of displacement.