No 7-Eleven

Resisting Chain Stores and Corporate Control

Bodega Profile – Poppy’s Gourmet Corner

Poppy's Gourmet Corner - Salvador and Mike

Salvador and Mike from Poppy’s Gourmet Corner

Poppy’s Gourmet Corner, a local bodega located at 191 Avenue A, is situated only one block from the new 7-Eleven scheduled to open in June. The owner of Poppy’s, a gentleman named Mike, has lived in the neighborhood for over thirty years, twenty-five of those years he spent running another bodega on 10th Street and Avenue A.

Today Mike is enjoying the conversation he’s having with his employees, Salvador and Philip.  With their help Mike’s business runs smoothly. They are loyal to Mike and they really enjoy working together. All three of them have a symbiotic relationship rotating through register, grill and restocking – noticing where help is needed and making sure to be there. They are committed to Mike and Poppy’s.

Poppy's Gourmet Corner - Philip and Salvador

Philip and Salvador from Poppy’s Gourmet Corner

Mike has been the owner of Poppy’s Gourmet Corner for the last 4 years. The local bodega is named after his grandfather, Poppy, a pet name. He offers me a free coffee as we talk. I take it gratefully. It is good!

Mike gives us the dish on the previous owners of the building his bodega resides in.

The previous owners gave the building to their son who was just in it for the money. They took advantage of the woman who owned Bar on A, now the 7-Eleven construction site at 170 Avenue A. According to Mike they gave her a crummy deal and a promise of an apartment but didn’t keep their word.

Poppy's Gourmet CornerAn older gentleman enters the store and Mike’s eyes come to life.

“Ah, Sal! Coffee? Iced?”

Sal comes to Poppy’s for the good coffee and egg sandwiches – scrambled on a roll with ham. “Mike is my friend,” says Sal. “I come here for the good food. He has everything. Summer time I get my iced coffee. Poppy’s is convenient, good and inexpensive.”

Sal has lived in the neighborhood for fifty years and when he heard a 7-Eleven was planned to open in June diagonally across the street he says, “I’m sticking with Mike!”

A few more loyal Poppy’s customers drop by. Michael, a serious regular who works right next door at Stand Up MRI, stops by to pick up a bagel with cream cheese. “These are cool people,” Michael says of Mike, Salvator and Philip. “I’m not going to go all the way down there,” he says jokingly pointing across the street where the 7-Eleven is being constructed.

Poppy's Gourmet Corner - Michael and Mike

Loyal Poppy’s customer Michael with Poppy’s owner Mike

Cynthia, a young woman in her 20’s who is also a loyal Poppy’s customer, walks in and hears us talking. “What will 7-Eleven have that they don’t have here? I’ll still shop here when 7-Eleven opens.” Cynthia points to Mike. “He greets me! And he’s the only one who get’s my coffee right,” she says. Mike smiles. Another happy customer.