Some surprising good news today about the growth of chain stores in the Village, East Village, and NoHo.
Like many, Village Preservation has been working to try to discourage the proliferation of chain stores in our neighborhoods, while encouraging the retention of small, independent businesses.
Apparently the trend is finally going our way.
The Center for an Urban Future has published their annual survey of chain stores in New York City. According to the survey, chains have continued to expand their presence in our city over the last year, growing by 0.5% during that time period. The number of chain stores has grown every year since they began their survey in 2008.
But according to Village Preservation’s analysis of CUF’s data, the good news is that between 2012 and 2013, the number of chain stores in five of the six zip codes covering the Village, East Village, and NoHo actually declined, with an overall decline in chain stores in our six zip codes from 558 to 535, or a more than 4% drop.
We’ve broken down the numbers on the zip code map below:
Of course the picture is not all rosy; the number of chain stores is still frustratingly high, the decline is slight after years of increase, and in the Far East Village, which had been largely free of chain stores, the trend is upward, albeit only slightly, from 23 to 25.
However, this does show that the seemingly inevitable “sameification” of our neighborhood retail needn’t be, well, inevitable.
But we’re not just keeping our fingers crossed. We’ve been working with partners like the East Village Community Coalition to seek zoning and legislative solutions to discourage chain proliferation, and have been in conversation with supportive legislators like City Councilmember Rosie Mendez (we’re also hopeful that Borough President-elect Gale Brewer, who worked on similar issues in the City Council, will be an ally in these efforts). And of course we continue to celebrate and promote beloved local businesses, and support efforts to keep them open when they are threatened.
It may be just be a tick in the right direction, but it’s a start. And clearly this bit of news is something to be thankful for this holiday season.