No 7-Eleven

Resisting Chains and Corporate Control


Starbucks to Replace Priced-Out Local Business

280-starbucksAnother Starbucks is slated for the West Village, this one at the former location of Bleeker Street Records which was forced out of their home at 239 Bleeker Street by a rent hike to $27,000. A spokesperson for the chain confirmed the new location will open this summer. Starbucks currently has more than 280 locations in the city.

Starbucks Will Open in Original Bleecker Street Records Location [Grub Street]


Local Coffee Shop Ousts Starbucks in Grand Central

Cafe Grumpy

Via CNN Money

Score one for the small guy.

A local New York coffee shop is set to replace one of the Starbucks in Manhattan’s Grand Central Terminal.

In May, Cafe Grumpy will replace the Starbucks (SBUX, Fortune 500) on the east side of the historic railway terminal, according to a spokesman for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

Starbucks’ lease was up, and the MTA prohibited chain stores from bidding on the new lease.

“It’s part of our effort to keep the space unique,” said the spokesman. Already, most of the 100 retail spaces in the terminal are local businesses, he said.

Terms of the lease were not immediately available.

Starbucks confirmed the move. Caroline Bell, the owner of Grumpy, said “this is a huge and exciting endeavor for us as an independent business.”

Grumpy serves as the place of employment for the main character in HBO’s popular series Girls. The coffee shop has a location in Brooklyn’s trendy Greenpoint neighborhood, as well as four other spots around the city.

Those needing a Starbucks fix inside Grand Central need not worry — the Seattle coffee chain still has another shop on the terminal’s west side.

Local coffee shop ousts Starbucks in Grand Central [CNN Money]


How Chain Stores Are Changing The Face of NYC

James and Karla MurrayVia Daily Mail

New York City is known for its constant reinvention and renewal, but for photographers James and Karla Murray, some of those changes hurt.

As iconic dive bars give way to fast food outlets, and kosher dairy joints are uprooted for bank chains, the East Village-based couple want to make sure we don’t forget the city’s colorful past.

The snappers photographed mom-and-pop stores everywhere from Harlem to the Lower East Side, to document the Big Apple’s transformation for their 2008 book ‘Store Front: The Disappearing Face of New York’.

Now, they’ve returned to those spots to capture the corporate takeover of New York, and have posted the pictures on their Facebook page, James and Karla Murray Photography.

‘We hope this glimpse will bring awareness to the unique character these small mom-and-pop businesses add to the streets and neighborhoods of New York City and the sense of community they provide,’ the Murrays, who have lived in New York for more than 20 years, told HuffPost.

‘These storefronts have the city’s history etched into their facades. We also hope that viewers will frequent small businesses so that they will continue to survive for many more years.’

Attack of the Chain Stores [Daily Mail]

Related

Photographers Capture ‘Disappearing Face’ of New York City Storefronts [Mashable]
Watch NYC Gentrify Right Before Your Eyes [Huff Po]


Chik-fil-A Is Sorry About That Whole Anti-Gay Marriage Fiasco

Dan Cathy - Gay OK!

Gay OK! Chik-fil-A is distancing themselves from their anti-gay rhetoric as they prepare for a Manhattan expansion.

Chik-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy is trying hard to distance the company from the PR crisis he created two years ago as his fast-food chain plans a Millienial-aimed Manhattan expansion. Cathy tells USA Today that he’s “more wise” than he was a few years when he went on media rampage saying the nation is inviting God’s wrath for supporting gay marriage.

The chain just surpassed KFC, becoming the nation’s largest chicken chain so of course a Manhattan expansion is in the works. And while flaming the anti-gay fire may work well in other parts of the country, in New York City, not so much, which is why the chain has stopped donating millions of dollars to charitable groups opposed to gay marriage. “The politics of their Southern Baptist values will not transcend their core markets,” says Christopher Muller, professor of hospitality at Boston University.

Chick-fil-A Wings in New Direction After Gay Flap [USA Today]
New Milliennial-Focused Chik-fil-A Plans NYC Expansion [Eater]
Chick-Fil-A Hopes NYC Will Forget That Whole Hating-Gays Thing [Huff Po]
Chick Fil-A Wants You To Forget About Their Homophobic Past [Queerty]


New Yorkers Need to Take Back Their City

Via The New York Times
By Jeremiah Moss

The old-school gentrification of the 20th century, while harmful, wasn’t all bad. It made streets safer, created jobs and brought fresh vegetables to the corner store. Today, however, what we talk about when we talk about gentrification is actually a far more destructive process, one that I prefer to call hyper-gentrification.

Unlike gentrification, in which the agents of change were middle-class settlers moving into working-class and poor neighborhoods, in hyper-gentrification the change comes from city government in collaboration with large corporations. Widespread transformation is intentional, massive and swift, resulting in a completely sanitized city filled with brand-name mega-developments built for the luxury class. The poor, working and middle classes are pushed out, along with artists, and the city goes stale. Urban scholar Neil Smith wrote extensively about the phenomenon, calling it “a systematic class-remaking of city neighborhoods.”

Cultivated by former mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, hyper-gentrification in New York was implemented via strategically planned mass rezonings, eminent domain and billions in tax breaks to corporations. This led to the eviction of countless residents and small businesses, destroying the fabric of our streets and putting the city’s soul on life support. To save it, we need politicians, activists and citizens to get tough and retake this city. Let’s drastically reduce tax breaks to corporations and redirect that money to mom-and-pops. Protect the city’s oldest small businesses by providing selective retail rent control, and implement the Small Business Survival Act to create fair rent negotiations. Pass a citywide ordinance to control the spread of chain stores. Strengthen residential rent regulation. Shop local and protest the corporate invasion of neighborhoods.

Unfortunately, too many New Yorkers say, “This is normal. The city always changes.” They’re in denial. This is not normal. It is state-sponsored, corporate-driven and turbo-charged.

The first step to healing is to admit we have a problem.

New Yorkers Need to Take Back Their City [The New York Times]


7-Eleven Franchisee Tells NPR, We Are “Glorified Managers”

7-Eleven Franchisee

Via WBEZ

Bigger than burgers and fries, franchising blamed for low wages

Popular business model squeezes small business owners between corporations and workers.

When we asked what it is like to own a franchise of the world’s largest convenience-store chain, Hashim Syed took us to a cramped back room of his 7-Eleven store on Chicago’s North Side.

Sitting next to a wall of tubes filled with bright-colored syrup for the soda machine, Syed recalled a young man working the graveyard shift a few years back. This employee wanted to be with his father, who was gravely ill.

“Where we come from,” said Syed, 71, who was born in India, “it’s very important that you spend the final days with parents for the comfort.”

But the worker could not afford to take unpaid leave. And Syed could not afford to replace him. “I’d have had to have somebody else do his work,” Syed said, his voice becoming faint. “I would have ended up paying two wages.”

The employee kept most of his shifts and, to this day, Syed still regrets it. “I wish I would have given him some time off,” he said.

In Syed’s nearly quarter century as a 7-Eleven franchisee, he has worked brutally long hours, his profits have fallen far short of his expectations, and the Dallas-based chain has imposed tighter rules on how he runs the store.

Something else that steams Syed is his role as an employer. He says all of those 7-Eleven rules limit his ability to cut costs and free up resources to treat his workers better. “When I lived in Bombay,” Syed said, “this is not what I thought they meant by the American Dream.”

Continue reading Bigger than burgers and fries, franchising blamed for low wages [WBEZ]

Related

7-ELEVEN Franchise Owners are Glorified Managers, Franchisee Tells NPR [Unhappy Franchisee]

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