Chain Stores Take a Hit in NYC, Including on the Lower East Side


Each year we’re interested to read the Center for an Urban Future’s report, State of the Chains. Mostly, our readers are not fans of chain stores; new locations of national retailers are seen as another sign that the Lower East Side is losing its unique character and becoming Anywhere, USA. This year. however, the report tells the story of the pandemic. We all know small mom-and-pop stores have been devastated. The report shows that chains aren’t holding up much better.

According to the researchers, more than 1,000 chain stores, or 1 in every 7 location operating a year ago, have closed either temporarily or for good (most closures were permanent):

Overall, the number of chain stores in New York City declined by 13.3 percent—with 2.0 percent closing temporarily and 11.3 percent not in- dicating whether the closures are permanent or temporary. This is by far the largest year- over-year decline in chain stores since the Center for an Urban Future began our annual analysis of the city’s national retailers thirteen years ago, eclipsing last year’s 3.7 percent drop and the 0.3 percent decline in 2018.




On the Lower East Side and Chinatown (zip code 10002), 8 our of 51 chain store locations closed.  That’s a drop of 16%. The Lower East Side has historically had fewer chains than many other neighborhoods. Take the East Village, zip code 10003, for example. A year ago, the neighborhood had 171 chain locations. It’s now fallen to 140, an 18% drop.

On the LES, at least one chain location did open, a Popeye’s fried chicken restaurant. The report noted that Popeye’s was one of the few companies in expansion mode in New York during the past 12 months. Popeye’s added 11 stores across the city.

If you would like to read the full report, click here.

7-Eleven is Closing Store at 403 Grand St.


You may have noticed the “75% off” sale signs pasted all over the 7-Eleven store at 403 Grand St. There’s a reason for that, of course. The chain store’s landlord, the Seward Park Cooperative, confirmed last night that 7-Eleven is closing this location at the end of August.

Back in 2013, there was a huge controversy over the Grand Street lease. While the co-op was looking for a stable commercial tenant, many local residents were strongly opposed to a national chain coming to this stretch of Grand Street.

Doron Stember, a board member at Seward Park, tells us management received a letter from 7-Eleven’s corporate offices advising the co-op that the company would be vacating the space with several years remaining on its lease. There are significant penalties in the lease for breaking the agreement, meaning 7-Eleven will be paying rent at 403 Grand for many months. Stember said 7-Eleven did not specify why it’s walking away from the Lower East Side store.

According to a memo sent to Seward Park residents Tuesday morning, 7-Eleven had a “corporate guarantee” for the first five years (that amounted to almost $1 million in rent). The early termination clause requires the company to pay $174,000 for terminating the lease (that’s equivalent to 13 months of rent).

Meanwhile, more chain stores are set to open directly across the street. Target opens a new store this week as part of the Essex Crossing project, and Trader Joe’s will be following suit in the same building in the early fall.


Lower East Side Is Not Seeing More Chain Stores, Even as Mom-and-Pops Fold


It was another brutal year for mom-and-pop shops on the Lower East Side and in New York City as a whole. But in this neighborhood at least, a new report shows that chain stores aren’t moving in to replace shuttered independent businesses.

An annual study from the Center for an Urban Future indicates there are 39 chain stores in zip code 10002, down one from 2016. [There were 46 chain store locations in 2015, so there is a downward trend.] Meanwhile, the number of chain locations grew by 1.8% in NYC as a whole.

The East Village continues to be a hotbed for chains. In 2016, there were 162 chain store locations in zip code 10003, the second highest of any neighborhood. There were another 26 chain locations in zip code 10009.

Here’s more from the report:

The tenth annual ranking of national retailers in New York City by the Center for an Urban Future (CUF) shows a 1.8 percent increase in the number of store locations over last year.1 Though this is the ninth consecutive year with a net increase in national chain stores across the five boroughs, the growth was limited to a relatively small number of retailers. In a year in which the challenges facing brick-and-mortar retail have burst into view, this report finds that New York’s national chains are not immune to the pressure. Although food establishments continue to show strong growth, retailers that compete most directly with online outlets—such as shoe and electronics stores—have experienced significant contractions. Overall, a fifth of all national retailers in the city closed stores in the past year, and only one-in-seven retailers on our list increased their footprint–the smallest share since we began keeping track a decade ago.

You can see the full study here.

Number of Chain Stores Drops on the Lower East Side in 2016


If you prefer independently run mom-and-pops over national chain stores, you’ll be happy to see the latest report from the Center for an Urban Future.

The annual survey, State of the Chains, identified 40 chain store locations in zip code 10002 in 2016, as opposed to 46 in the previous year.

Even in the East Village (zip code 10003), which has one of the highest concentrations of chains in the city, there was a slight drop year-over-year. Researchers counted 161 national chains, down one from 2015.

Overall, the number of chains increased in New York City to 7,243 locations (up 1.2%). The growth was in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island, while Manhattan experienced a retrenchment in chain stores. You can read the full report here.

Holding Steady: 48 Chain Stores on the Lower East Side

delancey street chains

A new report indicates that chain stores did not substantially increase their presence on the Lower East Side between 2014 and 2015.

The 8th annual survey from the Center for an Urban Future shows 48 national chain store locations in the 10002 zipcode this past year, compared with 47 between 2013 and 2014. Here’s more about the survey’s citywide findings:

Our eighth annual ranking of national retailers in New York City shows that the growth in chain store locations across the city slowed considerably over the last year. Overall, there was a 1 percent increase in the number of national retail locations between 2014 and 2015, compared to a 2.5 percent gain between 2013 and 2014. While this is the seventh consecutive year with a net increase in national chain stores in the five boroughs, this year’s rate of growth was lower than all previous years except 2013—when the number of chain stores rose by 0.5 percent. Our analysis shows that the 300 retailers that were listed on last year’s ranking expanded their footprint in New York City from a total of 7,473 stores in 2014 to 7,550 stores in 2015, an increase of 1 percent.

The 10003 zipcode, which includes the East Village, had 163 chain locations (down one from the previous year). As EV Grieve noted, this zipcode also includes Union Square and portions of 5th Avenue. The 10009 zipcode (East Village/Alphabet City) had 30 chain stores (up from 25 in 2013-3014).

You can view the full report here.


Report Shows Lower East Side Stayed Steady This Year With 47 Chain Stores

Report: Lower East Side Adds 10 Chain Stores in 2013

The Center for an Urban Future is out with its annual report on chain stores in New York City.  While the overall numbers on the Lower East Side are still relatively low compared with other neighborhoods, the survey indicates the LES saw more growth than all but one NYC community in 2013.

New Signs: Dunkin’ Donuts at 351 Grand St.

351 Grand St.

351 Grand St.

Back in May we noted the impending arrival of another chain store on the Lower East Side – a Dunkin’ Donuts franchise at 351 Grand St.  Now the promotional push has begun, as you can see from the signage outside the storefront, which is located across from the Seward Park High School campus. There’s also a “now hiring” placard in the window.


Dunkin’ Donuts Coming to 351 Grand St

351 grand street

351 Grand St.

A new Dunkin’ Donuts is coming to 351 Grand Street, just to the west of Essex.  Paperwork was filed recently with the Buildings Department for the renovation of a storefront previously occupied by Grand Health Pharmacy, which moved to another space a couple of doors down.  Our understanding is that this is a franchise operation, rather than a corporate-owned store.

The shop will join two other chains – -Papa John’s and Subway Sandwiches — surrounding the Seward Park High School campus. The Dunkin’ Donuts will be located just two doors away from an independent business, Flowers Cafe.

Last year, a Dunkin’ Donuts store was slated for 409 Grand St., in a strip of retail shops owned by the Seward Park Co-op. Residents launched a campaign against the donut shop and recruited another tenant, Tribeca Pediatrics, for the space. A similar campaign targeting 7-Eleven was unsuccessful. The convenience store chain recently began renovations on a new location at 403 Grand St.


Chain Stores Did Not Grow in 2012 on the Lower East Side

7-Eleven opened a new store at 142 Delancey Street in September.

This report came out earlier in the week, but we haven’t had a chance to take a look at it before now.  The Center for an Urban Future released its fifth annual survey, “State of the Chains,” which tracks the growth of national chains in New York City.

We looked at the chain store issue in the cover story of our July print magazine.  This year, there was a lot of debate in the neighborhood, mostly surrounding the invasion of the LES by 7-Eleven.  In our story we noted that the 2011 report from the center found there were 37 national chain stores in area code 10002, which encompasses much of the Lower East Side and Chinatown.  What’s the story this year? According to the researchers, there were 36 retail stores run by national chains when the survey was conducted during the summer.

In all of New York City, the report found, the number of chains grew in the past year by 2.4%.  There are just over 7,000 chain locations in the five boroughs.  The companies with the most stores in NYC are: Dunkin’ Donuts, Subway and Starbucks.  7-Eleven now has 98 locations in the city, up from 83 last year.

The East Village (area code 10003) clocked in with 179 chain stores, up 12 from 2011.  The EV has more chain outlets than any other neighborhood besides New Springville on Staten Island and the Garment District/Koreatown.

The full report is available on the center’s web site.


High Anxiety as 7-Eleven Takes Aim at Bodegas

7-Eleven opened a new store at 142 Delancey Street last week.

The Wall Street Journal this week takes a look at 7-Eleven’s conquest of New York City, noting that some bodega owners feel threatened by the big chain that boasts more than 47,000 locations worldwide.  The company is planning to open 30 new stores in the city during the next five years (there are already 100 or so 7-Eleven’s in the five boroughs).  As we indicated last Thursday, a new outlet just opened at 142 Delancey Street.  Another store is coming to 403 Grand Street.

The Center for an Urban Future is about to release its annual report tracking chain stores in the city.  The survey will show that 7-Eleven is the 15th largest chain in New York (it was 26th largest in 2008).  The chain has been aggressively wooing bodega owners, trying to cajole them into converting their small businesses to 7-Eleven franchises.  Recently officials from the company met with members of the Bodega Association of the U.S.  Association President Ramon Murphy told the Journal, “The main thing is, let’s educate our members, let’s be prepared for competition. If you want to be 7-Eleven, great. You don’t want it, I’ll help you, too. We want to keep the bodega in New York.”

7-Eleven Moving Closer to Opening on Delancey Street

Progress at the site of a planned 7-Eleven on Delancey Street.

While controversy about the arrival of chain stores on the Lower East Side continues, 7-Eleven is forging ahead with its new location at 142 Delancey Street, directly next to an existing Dunkin’ Donuts. The store’s renovation seems to be progressing, and some signage bearing the chain’s logo recently appeared in the windows.

Dodging the Chains: In Search of a Local Marketplace on the LES

The cover of out July magazine. Cover montage by Mark A. Ward.

Editor’s note: Our July print magazine has hit the streets.  If you haven’t been able to pick up a copy (we’ll post a list of locations later today), here’s the online version of our cover story:

Mark Hernandez is not one to back away from a challenge. About a year and a half ago, he opened Berkli Parc, a casual cafe on the corner of Delancey and Allen streets, located diagonally from a Starbucks and across the street from a Subway sandwich shop. Hernandez, a local resident, concedes it’s a lot of competition for one intersection, but he’s not intimidated by the national chains that are his neighbors. Berkli Parc is holding its own, and customers are cheering Hernandez on. They tell him, “Hey, that’s awesome that you had the guts to do that, to open up right across from Starbucks.”

In recent months, as national chains continued their colonization of the East Village’s storefronts to the north, Lower East Side residents, business owners and community leaders have become wary of big corporate retailers beginning to turn their attention — and their cash registers — south of Houston Street.

New Petition in Support of Dunkin’ Donuts, 7-Eleven on Grand Street

7-11 had been looking at the the Grand Spa location at 403 Grand Street.

Earlier this week the Seward Park Co-op agreed to hold off (at least temporarily) from renting space to 7-Eleven and Dunkin’ Donuts, after a residents’ group launched a petition drive opposing the chain stores.  Now another petition has emerged  — this one in support of the chains.

The petition reads:

Our neighborhood could be home to a 7-Eleven and Dunkin Donuts! There are two commercial spaces on Grand Street just west of Clinton Street that the Seward Park Board of Directors was going to bring a 7-Eleven and Dunkin Donuts to. Unfortunately, some local residents feel that this would not be a good addition to the neighborhood. We will not get into their reasoning but we will point out the positives of having these two stores. The stores are open early and late which is something that will help make Grand Street safer… They both run very clean operations… They have great products that everyone can enjoy… If you are from Seward Park an added bonus is that they are strong tenants and they will pay top rents. Seward Park has had a bad history with their commercial tenants. The commercial tenants currently owe over $100,000 in back rents.  A petition was circulated against bringing these stores in and convinced the Seward Park Board of Directors to retract their approval and put the deals on hold for three weeks so that alternative retailers could be tracked down. If you feel that these stores would be a great addition to the neighborhood or you feel that they will financially benefit the Co-Op, then sign this petition and lets show the Seward Park board that there are people who are in favor of this.

There are only five signatures so far. We’ll see what happens over the next several days.

Seward Park Board Backs Away From 7-Eleven, Dunkin’ Donuts Leases

7-Eleven has its eye on the Grand Spa space at 403 Grand Street.

As we indicated yesterday, the board of the Seward Park Cooperative met last night to discuss whether to lease two retail spaces it owns to 7-Eleven and Dunkin’ Donuts.   A group of residents and other members of the community mobilized to oppose the looming decision, forcing the board to reconsider.  During the meeting, they decided to hold off for the time being on renting the spaces to the large chain outlets.  The residents, who launched an online petition, have been speaking with other businesses, some of them small/independent retailers, about coming to Seward Park. The board and the co-op’s management company, Charles H. Greenthal Co., will look at other prospective tenants before making any leasing decisions.