Tales of Retail
James Joyce once puzzled whether it would be possible to cross Dublin without passing a pub. As it turns out, despite having more than 22 pubs per square mile, with the help of a computer algorithm, it just barely is. Today, after The Center for an Urban Future released its fifth annual study ranking the national retailers popping up all over in New York City, it might have found a harder puzzle to solve. With a reported 24 locations per square mile, is it possible to cross New York without passing a chain store?
The report showed a 2.4 percent increase in the total number of chains over the past year, despite prominent retailers like Filene’s Basement and Betsey Johnson closing their doors. It is boom maintained by trusty stalwarts like Dunkin Donuts, which opened 18 stores in the last year for a total of 484 citywide, followed closely by Subways, with 454 locations, and despite seeming to be on every street corner, Starbucks, with a mere 272 locations.
When Aaron Hillis and his wife bought Cobble Hill’s Video Free Brooklyn—a well-loved but somewhat dingy relic from the age of VHS—they had rather lofty plans for the store. They would transform the outmoded space into hub of film culture that would redefine the role of the video store in the time of Netflix. It would be both a boutique offering personalized service and an event space (thanks to collapsible shelves) with screenings and discussions. But like many fledgling entrepreneurs, their plans far outpaced their pocketbooks—Mr. Hillis figured he would need about $50,000 to revamp the space.
They might have tried for a bank loan, or made do until they saved enough for the renovation, but neither option was very appealing, so the Hillises did what everyone with a creative vision and a lack of cash seems to do these days: they launched a crowdfunding campaign.
“I don’t think it’s any different or less valid than when PBS or NPR ask people to donate for a free tote bag, or the Kickstarter campaign in Detroit to build a life-size statue of RoboCop,” said Mr. Hillis, who has thus far raised about $7,000 (with two weeks to go on a $50,000 campaign) on Indiegogo. “As long as you’re transparent about where the money is going, you’re putting together something that people want to be a part of.”
Fifty percent more than are in Los Angeles, in fact. The Center for an Urban Future has a new report out that shows New York as the nation’s busiest hub for what the report calls “design industries.” That includes architects as well as fashion and interior designers.
Here’s some stats, followed by, of course, some concerns regarding where all these designers are going to live and work, and show their wares.
Brooklyn! At least more and more… Plus: Manhattan’s share drops and financial services is doomed. Read More
When the Center for an Urban Future, an urban policy think tank, released a report last week documenting in great detail the continued misfortunes of the middle class in New York City, many people responded with little more than a faint raising of the eyebrows and a disaffected shrug of the shoulders, as if to Read More
New York City’s middle class, long an endangered species, may be facing extinction if certain key economic factors don’t soon change, this according to a comprehensive · Manufacturing jobs have disappeared all over the country, but New York City and its metropolitan area have done worse in retaining this sector than almost anywhere Read More
From 1975 to 2005, New York City shrank as a regional job hub relative to 12 surrounding counties in Long Island, southern New York and northern New Jersey, according to a "New York by the Numbers" report (PDF) released today by local public policy group the Center for an Urban Future.
Back in 1975, Read More
“The Brooklyn Brewery was a confirmation of the American Dream,” co-founder Steve Hindy wrote in a commentary released today by the Center for an Urban Future called "Trouble Brewing."
“But after a frustrating, futile four-year search for a new Brewery site to expand operations in the city, I am now asking myself Read More
You could talk to any business in the city and hear a familiar lament about high overhead stemming from commercial rents, but for small-scale "food entrepeneurs" who don’t have enough revenue to justify a full-time licensed facility–let alone one equipped with ovens, mixers, and expensive cooking equipment–the problem has an accessible solution, according to a Read More
New York City may be the star of the Grand Theft Auto IV, but from a business standpoint, New York isn’t investing enough in the gaming industry, according to a study released today by the Center for an Urban Future, a Manhattan think tank.
In fact, New York City, whose gaming industry employs Read More