This startup wants to kill your bodega

Gladys Abbott
September 13, 2017

There's nothing inherently wrong with vending machines, and there are certainly lots of places that could use them, like maybe neighborhoods that are food deserts and/or office and apartment buildings in cities that aren't very walkable. Now a new startup aims to make buying convenience store items a little more convenient for some, while effectively eroding neighborhood cornerstones.

A pair of former Googlers want to end the local bodega by replacing it with a box full of random shit and a corresponding app to access it... they're calling their creation 'Bodega'. These dudes stuck a computer on a vending machine and got some dumb rich people to give them money for it. Congratulations.

Some Twitter users compared the concept to a vending machine.

From the name of the store to the cat-emblazoned logos (bodegas are well known for housing cats), everything about this company is intentionally taken from what immigrants have built.

God, McDonald and Rajan definitely earnestly beseeched their audience of investors to "think outside the box", didn't they? While the concept for Bodega makes sense, if successful it could have a huge adverse impact on many black and minority owned urban businesses and local economies already struggling against the backdrop of gentrification.

And when it comes to the company's potentially offensive name, McDonald says he's "not particularly concerned about it".

"We did surveys in the Latin American community to understand if they felt the name was a misappropriation of that term or had negative connotations, and 97% said 'no, '" he said. And if you live in NY, you not only have a favorite bodega, you probably have a favorite bodega cat.

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For the company unoriginally named after actual bodegas to position convenience as something that allows those who benefit from whiteness-including "acceptable" brown folks (I see you, Rajan)- to not have to interact with immigrants and people of color to get a pack of rolling papers or Cheetos or whatever is racist and gross.

New Yorkers and others who frequent bodegas seem to have Garcia's back.

If you live in New York City or other major cities in the country, you've probably been to a bodega, local market or corner store. Each case carries different products, depending on what the company has assessed to be the most popular items in that particular community.

Already, a bodega vs. Bodega battle is bubbling up.

As you may know, the industry of bodegas and mom-and-pop corner shops has been on a steady decline in face of the rising costs of rent and the competition of grocery delivery companies like FreshDirect.

Also, the company is called "Bodega", which is really just asking for it.

According to the Fast Company article, the company unveiled 50 locations on the West Coast Wednesday and has plans to go national.

Other reports by LeisureTravelAid

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