Friday, July 14, 2017

At the 'Not Another Starbucks Rally'

Last evening at 5:30, a group of residents, small-business owners and activists gathered on St. Mark's Place and Avenue A to speak out about the incoming Starbucks coming to this corner as well as the proliferation of chain stores in the East Village.

EVG regular Peter Brownscombe shared these photos...

At the rally, participants called for the approval of a Special Retail District that would limit the size and number of chain stores and promote retail diversity that is currently under consideration by Community Board 3 and draw attention to the need for a City Council hearing on the Small Business Jobs Survival Act.

The Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, East Village Independent Merchants Association, and the East Village Community Coalition organized the event.

City Council candidate Carlina Rivera attended the rally, and said that she supported a special zoning district for the neighborhood.

As reported by Bedford + Bowery: "It’s an important step for us to show that we are done," Rivera said, adding that local residents "want to keep our neighborhood authentic and we want to make sure that how it remains authentic is having the local mom and pops that you know."

In an article published yesterday morning, DNAinfo's Allegra Hobbs spoke with a few East Village business owners who are concerned about "the impact the chain’s move eastward will have on their operations, the local economy and on the neighborhood’s broader culture."

Photos below via Steven...

There was also free coffee courtesy of Mud over on Ninth Street...

"[T]his is one of the most special, unique neighborhoods around," James Armata, Mud's general manager, told Patch at the rally. "It keeps on getting less and less so with constant chains moving in. It could be Starbucks, it could be anything."

Previously on EV Grieve:
Steve Cuozzo: 'A new Starbucks will make the thriving East Village an even better place to live'

A look the incoming Starbucks on St. Mark's and Avenue A, site of a rally on July 13

Public forum set to discuss special business district in the East Village


Anonymous said...

A special retail district would be good but it will be interesting how CB3 defines a 'chain'. The Bean also has several stores within a few blocks. They should be held to the same standard. The business district however will likely not address the many stand alone bars. A few are fine but every other store is too much. Some states like NJ have a set # in a certain area with no exceptions. This is similar to our 500 foot rule but with no exceptions. If the zoning goes through it should be thoroughly reviewed by a team of lawyers to make sure there are no loopholes. Otherwise the chains will use their lawyers to sue & effectively take apart the law.

Anonymous said...

All of this is wishful thinking. I admire the opposition for their passion and adamancy. I am sure this group has the best of intentions, but do they really believe this will cease the completion and opening of this Starbucks? There are chains everywhere. Its just a part of our daily lives, which includes Alphabet City in the EV. Money talks and bullshit walks. At the end of the day, this is it what it comes down to unfortunately.

With all of the hassle and fuss, one would think something heinous would be arriving to the corner. Its just a Starbucks.

Anonymous said...

This isn't about trying to stop Starbucks from opening. That is a done deal.

This is to draw attention to the Special Retail District that would limit the size and number of chain stores and promote retail diversity that is currently under consideration by Community Board 3.

Please educate yourself. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Nothing wrong with Sturbucks. Don't like it don't go there. I mostly use them for free bathrooms and free ice water and an occasional coffee trap on a really hot day. This is capitalism if it was any other way East Village would still be a dangerous neighborhood.

Anonymous said...

Wow, so glad capitalism saved the East Village and I thought efforts from community groups had something todo with it, I stand corrected.

cmarrtyy said...

Protest is always good. But a special district? What indie retailer can pay the rent? Not many. In reality the special district would be a block of empty stores or a few stores that sell products at a premium. Amazon wins... the virtual chain that can't be stopped.

Anonymous said...

Love how MUD sponsored it! Haha.

Anonymous said...

It is sad when greedy landlord wants crazy money for rent that only big business can afford the rent. These greedy pigs are slowly changing neighborhoods into districts.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the last commenter. It is sad when "greedy landlords" demand insane amounts of money for rents. They do it because they can. Playing devil's advocate, I'd probably charge market rent to a tenant if I owned a property. I wouldn't be brazen or crude about it, but as a landlord, you also have taxes and fees to consider. After all, we live in a capitalist society, right? Let's not deny that. Also, in the seven years I've lived here, there has been an insurgance of people who flock to and live in the neighborhood now for its conveniences and quaintness. There is no other hood like it in the city. Since the rents are so high, a place like Starbuck's can easily afford it because they have deep pockets and will abide by the lease terms.

Other businesses not so much. I've seen several tank less within a year. The only way for these smaller businesses to thrive is signing into a lease that is not only plausible but negotiable at market rate or have a substantial amount of capital to sustain themselves during the slower months or periods of inactivity. I honestly don't know how the smaller places are doing it. There is rent, utilities, product costs, loss of food, labor, insurance, taxes, fees, and others I am sure I've left out. Where is the profit? What is the point? Starbucks can pay that and then some, which is why they are moving into the spot. Its not a fuck you to the residents. Its just business. They have a niche on the market due to their global and ubiquitous nature. Its just a fact.

A lot of the other commenters are right. We can resist in our way by not making a scene, but by showing up at the smaller venues, each and every day, buying a cup of coffee or latte or muffin or whatever. If some of us do that, perhaps that will continue to enrich and support our community. That could make a huge difference by daily efforts. In the meantime, Starbucks is a "done deal." So, lets try to embrace the present and adapt with the times. It will all be okay.

Anonymous said...

You make good points, 10 am. With this particular storefront, tho the landlord shut off the gas without any warning to Nino, who owned the pizzeria, and to the residents of the building. Then the landlord tried to evict Nino after he didn't pay rent. He couldn't open for business! The landlord has deep pockets, and Nino couldn't afford to wait it out or get into a messy legal spat. They essentially forced him to take a buyout. This was all documented in the local press (Dnaifo, the Villager, NYU Bedford and Bowery) He had a perfectly legit lease at 17k a month. Starbucks is paying upwards of $40k.

The lease wasn't up at Nino's. He was essentially forced out of business. Icon and Croman and Toledano have also been accused of similar practices with both businesses and residents.

So we are supposed to embrace this and adapt with the times? You find this tactic acceptable? Your comment reads like a landlord-developer, so I'm guessing that will be a Yes.

Anonymous said...

HI. This is for 10:23. I posted at 10 am.

For the record, I am not a landlord or developer. I have no interest whatsoever in real estate. However, my central interest is in realism. I don't like to live in denial or a fantasy. I am a tax paying, hard working citizen who appreciates honesty and facts.

I didn't mean to imply we should embrace the greed nor applaud the overtaking from other merciless developers. What I meant to say and perhaps I didn't say it well was we must embrace reality, the present mainly, and where we are at a consumerist society. Most of whom struggle in the city can no longer afford to survive without two jobs, and let's face it, you are lucky to find one job to pay your rent with our oversaturated job market. I don't find the tactic of most developers acceptable. Most are snarky and underhanded. But what I can do a a person or you? How much clout rests between us? Sometimes in life, you have to choose your battles. This is one I won't pursue.

I am virtually powerless. So, instead of fighting and resisting, I am going to adapt to all of the changes in and around this neighbored, for good and for bad, against my better judgment, not because I seek answers or fairness, but because I want peace and continuity. Have a good day.

EV Grieve said...

To the person who left the unrelated comment here about the new signage on 10th Street — thanks! I am looking into that.

Anonymous said...

I would like to see the local coffee shops band together and hire someone to stand outside of this location with a chalkboard that says: "instead of buying a cup of coffee here, please approach a local New Yorker and tell them to go fuck themselves. Because that's what you're doing when you bypass local businesses for a national chain known for burnt beans", then a list below of the local coffee shops within a 2 block radius, which are legion. People don't like to feel like rubes.

Anonymous said...

It is weird that Caffe Bene has open on Avenue A for a while now .
Caffe Bene is a chain with 1,364 stores world wide
Never one protest or complaint about this Korea chain being on Avenue A

So my question is at what level of stores does it l become a problem with chain stores in EV?

Scuba Diva said...

At 3:05 PM, Anonymous said:

The Bean also has several stores within a few blocks. They should be held to the same standard.

The Bean has three stores, and Porto Rico has three stores—one of which is a stall in the Essex Street Market. Neither is the gargantuan behemoth $tarbucks is.

It must be noted that Starbucks started as a small business, but it sure ain't that now.

Anonymous said...

Starbucks started as a single store in 1971 selling roasted beans only and the only coffee they offered was free so customers could sample the beans prior to purchasing. It wasn't until 1984 that they started expanding, over a decade later.Would people be this pissed off if The Bean opened thousands of stores all over the world? People get into business to make money and expansion equals more money. What is so revolting about a small business transforming into an empire? If any of these local businesses could, they would.

Anonymous said...

This is directed to 5:23 --

What a childish and spiteful thing to suggest. That is behavior I'd expect from my 9 year old nephew. Certainly not a grown man or woman. Hire someone to stand in front of a business and post something mean with vulgarity? Classy. Also, if this was done, what message does this convey to others? Think about it. Starbucks has just as much right to open there as anyone else does, whether you care for it or not.

NYC belongs to everyone, including the chains. Inclusion and diversity. America. Remember? The neighborhood and community isn't beholden just for your personal hopes and wishes. What you have suggested is downright rude and unnecessary.

This reminds me of the election of 2016. It was ugly and brutal and divisive. But each party was entitled to express their views. Many still have the right to oppose Starbucks arriving in theory, but once something has been decided and built and signed on, we all have to live with it, including Trump and the Starbucks on St. Marks and Ave A.


Anonymous said...

There were a lot of comments about the two Caffee Bene locations opening here.

This first post had 45 comments alone.