New Yorkers (most of them, it seems) profess a grand dislike of chain stores, especially when they have to wait in line to get their overpriced lattes from Starbucks! The good news for such people is this: According to the Center for an Urban Future‘s annual survey on chain stores, the recession has slowed the spread of chains. The Wall Street Journal reports that the “overall proliferation of national retailers across the five boroughs slowed to a 1.6% increase in 2011, the smallest since the Center for an Urban Future began its retail survey four years ago. In 2010, by contrast, the city’s chain-store population grew by 4%.”
The bad news is, where can you get your Bloomin’ Onion?
Answer: You should not be eating a Bloomin’ Onion.
Why the slowdown? You can credit the recession for that. According to 2011 data, there are 6,994 chain stores operating in the city, but nearly three quarters of those didn’t add new stores this year and the majority of growth occurred outside of Manhattan, where chain stores actually dropped in numbers by more than 2 percent. Part of the drop was due to the fact that Borders closed all 9 of its locations in the city, and Blockbuster cut stores by a third.
The chainiest place of all? “Staten Island’s New Springville, in ZIP code 10314 continues to have the largest number of chains, likely due to the presence of the Staten Island Mall.” Interestingly, the East Village came in third for most chains overall in New York City — it boasts 169.
Fun fact: Dunkin’ Donuts, not Starbucks, has the most stores in New York City. What’s the best way to combat a chain store? Don’t shop there.