Corner markets and local grocery stores, the linchpin of local neighborhoods in large cities, are increasingly shutting down across New York City. While supermarkets like Whole Foods and Wegmans are making their mark with wide aisles and an endless amount of selection, the number of blocks the average New Yorker has to haul groceries is affecting what was once deemed a 'good' neighborhood.
Having a corner market where residents could pick up some milk or bread on their way home from work was an essential for any urbanite. Now, to get to most stores, residents increasingly have to rely on their own cars and taxis to lug armfuls of bags across town.
Between 2005 and 2015, the city lost around 8 percent of its greengrocers — family-owned stores of less than about 7,000 square feet. About 300 such stores closed during that time, about a third of them in Manhattan, according to the Strategic Resource Group, a retail consultant.
“The greengrocers that New Yorkers grew up with have become more a thing of the past,” said Burt P. Flickinger III, the managing director of Strategic Resource. As for supermarkets, he said, “New York City is worse than New Orleans post-Katrina.” A 2008 report issued by the New York City Department of City Planning describes “a widespread shortage of neighborhood grocery stores.”