Tuesday, April 30, 2013

7-11 Strikes Again

This past summer, we noted the construction of yet another 7-Eleven, plopped right next to Kyung's Korean grocery on 25th and 8th. I wrote, "It looks like Kyung has been given just two choices: Convert or die."



Now New York Neon chronicler Thomas Rinaldi writes in with a photo and the inevitable news:

"7-11 seems to have put another bodega down, and this time it's MINE. Kyung's at 25th and 8th shuttered at the end of March. Not sure how long they'd been there. A neighbor who has been in Chelsea probably 50 years told me there had been a bodega there as long as he could remember. They closed up almost overnight. The interior is already gutted. When I asked them what happened, they were somewhat elusive about the whole thing--mentioned something about a rent hike, said it was getting harder to do business in Chelsea, that they might open up a shop somewhere in Jersey. Though they did not specifically blame 7-11, I cannot imagine this was a coincidence. I wish I'd asked more, but they really seemed not to want to talk about it, and I didn't blame them. Anyhow, since I'm boycotting that 7-11, I now have to go annoyingly farther afield for my late-night ice cream sandwiches, my Sunday morning BLTs, my most-mornings coffee. I wait apprehensively to see what comes here next."

As do we all.

21 comments:

timmmyk said...

Kyung's had to scratch out whatever they could to survive and thye worked hard for their business. I have been in Chelsea over 20 years, used to go to Kyung's almost every day when I worked on 26th Street and the guy who ran the place never forgot me, always had a smile and something nice to say; he spoke Arabic, Spanish, English and Korean & worked his ass off. 7-Eleven came in and started selling Lotto, took all the transient business away and 123 Kyung's stopped selling Lotto. Kyung's then became a ghost town. Kyung's deserved better than that. Bad scran to 7-ELEVEN.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, well....this is going to sound f'ed up but here goes. I grew up with bodegas all around me. Some of these bodegas become like a good neighborhood friend.

Yet while it's sad to see many of them go, but some of the Korean owned grocery shops, not so much. They were sometimes rude, nasty and overpriced. Many of these businesses price gorged for years. Now they're on the receiving end. What comes around goes around. Just too bad it was a chain like 7-11.

Jill said...

Predators.

John Logsdon said...

OR you do as most people who love NYC for what it is do - you move to Brooklyn where you can still find bodegas and coffee shops. Where Starbucks is kept away as much as possible...at least for now. I have never regretted moving to Brooklyn and love it for the same reasons I loved NYC when I first moved here 20+ years ago.

Anonymous said...

I think they've got another one a block or two up Eighth Ave. Ruining NYC for us all.

Anonymous said...

kyung's also had pretty decent korean food in a pinch around lunchtime. also one of the last remnants of a time when ethnic stereotypes rang true in a good way in the city: your greek diner, korean grocer, etc. sad and shocking to see them shutter so unexpectedly.

JAZ said...

The reason it cannot be a coincidence is that the first part of the double whammy (rent increase + decrease in sales) is enough to knock out a bodega. The rent will always skyrocket once a landlord sees what 7-11 was willing to pay on the same block; analysis of before and after sales receipts isn't even required to understand how a mom & pop's bottom line is obliterated. And in this city in 2013, the sales receipts are gonna go down as well, as a tourist - and even worse, the gentrification army of well heeled repeat customers will always be slave enough to branding and their suburban upbringing ('OMG! bodegas are like, gross!!')to go pay .75 more for a gallon of milk at 7-11 than it is going for at the corner bodega. This is the exact opposite of the mindset of newcomers to the city pre-Giuliani.

Individuality is the sworn enemy of homogenization, so once a 7-11 declares war (and this is damn well EXACTLY what they did in their own words) in a city with ultra enablers at the top of the administration, the mom and pop is doomed.

Sorry for the rant, but I'm beyond sick of the place I love being turned into a punching bag for the elite and beautiful people to work over.

Anonymous said...

Agree with 9:15 am. Price gouged esp. if they can smell that you're not local. And, remember when they would only have their family members or Koreans working for them? And an African-American coalition threatened to sue Korean delis who don't hire minorities. So the delis hired Central American or Mexican workers, mostly illegal. And when a minority, black or hispanic, would enter a Korean deli, the owner or worker would follow them around the store. Karma.

laura said...

if 7/11 took all the customers, then thats what people want. if it was a ghost town, whose fault is it? the customers!! too bad.

Jill W. said...

John Logsdon: I can't understand why you think this won't be happening in Brooklyn. I think it will be there soon enough, so I don't see any point moving there now. If anything, the reversal trend is underway with some Brooklyn rents already outpricing the East Village.

No 7-Eleven said...

This is 7-Eleven's master plan - opening locations where they aren't needed to force out existing Mom & Pops and dominate the market. This is the second local business to go under as a direct result from 7-Eleven opening right next door to existing businesses. There are an additional 100 7-Eleven locations on the way.

~evilsugar25 said...

@John Logsdon - where? i've been in the East Village for 20 years and need to move to a place that's like the EV used to be.

King Ning said...

Welcome to white bread, homogenized, plain vanilla, cookie cutter stamped New York aka "Wisco East". It has been declawed, defanged and rendered completely safe in order to replicate the cul-de-sac tract housing communities which the interloping former denizens left to move here because it was different.

It's bad enough that it happened to Manhattan; now, it's bulldozing its way across the river.I'm a lifelong resident of Brooklyn and it's killing me to see this borough being transformed into a giant theme park/mega-mall/artisanal food court.

Ken Mac said...

i WENT HERE every Monday morning on my way to work. These folks were always friendly, service was fast, and their food was fresh. They deserved better.

Anonymous said...

I wish someone could explain to me how 7-Eleven is forcing stores out of business by opening up next to them. It seems obvious to me that for all the creepy whining, the 7-Elevens are doing good business because New Yorkers are patronizing them. You all reason like liberal arts majors.

Owen Gereth said...

It's clear that many people like the new 7-11's and many people also like the fact that you can be from anywhere in the US and come to New York and find the things that bring you comfort, like Big Gulps and Snickers Bars and microwaveable burritos. Familiar comfort food that makes anyone who's American feel at home in New York.

Imagine you're walking down one of New York's crowded, dirty streets feeling a little dizzy, and then you look around and what's there to anchor you? The restaurants you know and love. Starbucks, McDonalds, 7-11, Walgreens, Chipotle, Olive Garden, Dunkin Donuts, and many more. That's why people go to places like 7-11. Who knows what you're going to get a bodega or a place like Kyung's? It might be something strange or scary.

Mayor Bloomberg knows how important tourism and new residents are to the city. Look at the beautiful High Line and the new Washington Square Park, that is safe for tourists from Kansas or Nebraska. They don't have to worry about where to get coffee or snacks or dinner. They've got all the comforts of home right here. New York keeps growing and drawing people from all over the US and the world. This makes the city richer and means there will be jobs, unlike when New York was falling apart. That's why Mayor Bloomberg won three terms. He'd win a fourth if he could run again.

alberchico said...

I have frequented this deli for years and found them to be overpriced. To be blunt, not every business that vanishes in this city deserves to be mourned. Funny that no one remembers the controversy involving Korean grocers that occurred 20 years ago....

Anonymous said...

To Owen Gereth: Youre being sarcastic right? Please say yes. I beg you to please say your not serious that the whole city should turn into a corporate mall to please suburban transplants and idiot tourists.

Jill W. said...

I accept that tourism is important for the city, and so is attracting creative innovators. However, I think that tourists should be coming here with an open mind to trying new things, otherwise why travel? And new residents should prepare to be changed by New York, not the other way around. And actually, I don't believe that the prevailing attitude is just market forces at work. I think conditions are being set to make it easy for corporates and hard for independents. The question remains, fight or flee? And if flee, where? If I move to Central or South America, I'll just be the gringo that's aiding the new gentrification there.

Little Earthquake said...

Good...I can feel your anger...

Anonymous said...

So much has gone wrong with NYC in the direction of right wing take over in the last several years. It makes me so sick I can hardly stand it anymore. I sure hope whoever replaces Bloomberg cares more about the vibe of the city, or er, what it used to be like. I took a long walk around the east and west village last night and it made me want to cry: All the 7-11's, Subways, Starbucks, arrogant yuppies. What a drag