Tuesday, October 14, 2014

It's the rezoning, stupid

From the Daily News:

Small businesses provide significant community benefits. They boost the local economy, contribute to civil society and help to define the cultural identity of a place — the sense that a neighborhood is unique. Rightly or wrongly, chain stores are perceived as a threat to all of this.

But while Starbucks and Whole Foods are convenient villains in the narrative of neighborhood decline, blocking chain stores alone is not enough to save a community’s small businesses. Armed with a decade’s worth of business directory data, our research team at Hunter College mapped commercial changes in Brooklyn between 2002 and 2012, curious about where and why small businesses were displaced.

Here’s what we found. Although isolated chain stores chip away at mom-and-pop shops, the most substantial displacement of independently owned business occurred in areas that were rezoned by the city and rebuilt by private developers. In these neighborhoods, commercial turnover was less of a “slow burn” than a slash-and-burn.

When the city adds commercial space through rezoning, landlords receive an incentive to redevelop or sell their properties and replace existing commercial tenants. If big commercial storefronts are included in a rezoned area, national chain stores are likely to swoop in.

The city can do something about this as well. The Small Business Jobs Survival Act, currently under consideration by the City Council, would grant commercial tenants more leverage in their negotiations with landlords, extend commercial leases and protect business owners from rent gouging and under the table extortion.

6 comments:

zee zeem said...

Maybe some neighborhoods have nice mom and pop stores popular with the community. My experience in Queens with the mom and pop stores or non chain stores is really not that positive, and I am not sure why people are upset when they close to be replaced by chains. These stores are nasty - filthy bodegas, dirty smelly newsstands and delis with bad coffee and porn newspapers, unkept pizza places, ugly dirt Chinese take out places, dank, messy 99 cent stores. The customer service at these places is terrible. The pharmacists at CVS are much nicer than the grouchy employees at the local pharmacy for example. Most of these stores have ugly facades with cheap neon lights and old dirty signs. As much as I don't like some chains, a simple dunlin donuts is an improvement over these stores never mind a starbucks. Don't get me started at the horrible Met stores.

Joe Moretti said...

I agree with zee zee, especially regarding certain areas of Queesn, but my experience with some of the chains in Queens is really not different from Duane Reade, CVS to the horrible Dunkin Donuts. Communities get what they deserve and sometimes that is crap due to the people that live there.

Anonymous said...

Im in Glendale, and i see mom and pops close all the time. Good places, like specialty restaurants and specialty stores.

They close because all the locals that cry about having nothing but crappy stores, all still shop at CVS and go to the greasy diners to eat.

ron s said...


zee zeem said...
Maybe some neighborhoods have nice mom and pop stores popular with the community. My experience in Queens with the mom and pop stores or non chain stores is really not that positive, and I am not sure why people are upset when they close to be replaced by chains. These stores are nasty - filthy bodegas, dirty smelly newsstands and delis with bad coffee and porn newspapers, unkept pizza places, ugly dirt Chinese take out places, dank, messy 99 cent stores. The customer service at these places is terrible. The pharmacists at CVS are much nicer than the grouchy employees at the local pharmacy for example. Most of these stores have ugly facades with cheap neon lights and old dirty signs. As much as I don't like some chains, a simple dunlin donuts is an improvement over these stores never mind a starbucks. Don't get me started at the horrible Met stores

Gee, that's not too much of a generalization........

Anonymous said...

Bring on the chains! Mom and Pops stopped being worth anything decades ago, once Mom and Pop moved to the burbs as soon as they could afford it, to raise their kids, who want nothing to do with an old shop in an old city neighborhood. What's left now are poor immigrants living in and running shops for poor people. And as soon as they can afford to leave, they will.

Anonymous said...

It beats some of the unsanitary dumpling dens and noodle palaces around Flooshing.. At least you can be relatively certain that Starbucks offers sanitary preparation.