Modell’s had liquidation sales in March.
A new report shows that the number of chain stores on the Upper West Side declined in 2020, with Covid-19 accelerating a shift that had started before the pandemic.
The number of chains in all three main zip codes in the neighborhood declined.
In 10023 the number of chains fell from 86 to 68.
In 10024 it fell from 62 to 51.
In 10025 it fell from 94 to 81.
It’s not the first year that the neighborhood lost chain stores, but it was the most dramatic decline yet. In total, more than 1,000 chain stores in the city — or nearly 1 of every 7 — closed over the past year, according to the report by the Center for an Urban Future. “Overall, the number of chain stores in New York City declined by 13.3 percent—with 2.0 percent closing temporarily and 11.3 percent not indicating whether the closures are permanent or temporary,” the report said. Manhattan saw a larger decline than other boroughs.
Bakery chains were hit particularly hard, with chains like Le Pain Quotidien closing large numbers of stores. (Le Pain Quotidien is expected to be expanding soon, however, in spots formerly occupied by Maison Kayser.) Other chains that closed large numbers of stores included Starbucks and drug stores like Duane Reade. Modell’s also closed its locations.
Below see a list of chains that closed many stores:
There was a point in time, not long ago when residents of the UWS joked that soon all we will have left are Banks and CVS……now we hope we are lucky enough that those businesses chose to stay……
Upper Westsiders hate chain stores so should we be cheering for this since this is what so many Rag posters seem to want?
Well, Chain Sores are All we had left. So when they are gone then there’s nothing left! It has nothing to to do with hating or liking chain stores!
Good post. Not.
Missing Xi’an Famous Foods on 102nd and Broadway, which is the only thing worth mourning here other than Modell’s, LPQ, NYSC, and Jimi Jazz.
Although they never made it to the uws, I believe that NY born and bred Century 21’s bankruptcy is also a very significant one.
C21 were on the west side near 66 street for 10 years!
When Loehmanns and Filene’s Basement went under, it was telling that retail would suffer due to rents and lack of patrons. It’s sad to see that there will be tons of empty storefronts and the economic issues stemming from the pandemic have only just begun. Let’s continue to support local stores and restaurants as much as we can!
Do you live on the UWS? C21 did make it here. They were on Broadway and 65th.
I hate chain stores and never go to any of them. Neither the stores nor their customers enlightened our lives. Many of them are suitable for cultural or performance centers, community activities, child care, homeless services, or voter education. Let’s make the best of it and stop the whining.
I’m sure all the people who lost their jobs at these stores would so much rather have their “lives be enlightened” instead of a paycheck. I’m sure they really appreciate this point of view.
Start writing some checks and these commercial spaces can be whatever you want them to be.
A generic hatred of chain stores is absurd. It makes no distinction between national retailers like GNC and uniquely New York businesses like Jimmy Jazz (founded on Delancey Street in 1989). As for the breathtaking contempt toward patrons at places like Dunkin’, kindly remember not all can afford artisanal one-offs that charge $7 a latte to “enlighten” your existence.
Good post that nails it. This hatred of chains reflects the failure of those who hate them to adequately support the businesses they so desperately want to survive.
By all means, let’s convert all our UWS chain stores into dance studios and community centers, banish their customers to red states where they belong, and reserve storefront real estate for businesses that “enlighten our lives.”
Of course, this should not apply to Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, Starbucks, CVS, Citibank, Lululemon, Dunkin’ Donuts, Popeye’s or NY Sports because I go there all the time.
Further up on the one train mom and pop stores still exist in a vibrant shopping area in the BX from 225th to 242nd st.The Upper West Side has over priced rents and a lack of diversity. Just like the West Village it drove retail out, small cafes and family run independent pharmacies.
The vibrant shopping area you refer to caters to a demographic that doesn’t exist on the UWS. That’s why there are still what you call mom-and-pop stores.
But what you neglect to say is that there are numerous large chain stores on that stretch, too. Between 225th-240th St, you’ll find CityMD, RiteAid, Walgreens, Marshalls, Target, Vitamin Shoppe, GNC, Staples, Mattress Firm, Stop & Shop, Five Below, Aldi, TJ Maxx, Party City, Bob’s Discount Furniture numerous chain food businesses, and large banks. That area is not just small neighborhood stores as you’re suggesting.
It would be wonderful if independent retailers could take the place of a portion of the chain stores. Retail rents on the UWS were so high – but a correction downward allows for new talent to enter the landscape and for creativity to reenter our neighborhood. Here’s to new life on the UWS.
Never going to happen at a scale that transforms this neighborhood. People value their time and conveniences more than their shopping experiences so online shopping will not abate. It’s foolish to think otherwise.
I disagree. Although yes, Amazon & the like are super convenient, we NYer’s are still a walking bunch. Pedestrians will always stop into shops. Sure I’ll order crap on Amazon now (COVID) but when we have a sense of normalcy, I think more & more people will be aching to buy in brick & mortar, moreso small independent sstores.
Amazon’s horrendous treatment of their staff and tax evasion are reason enough not to support them. There is always an alternative way to order. Recent example: I wanted to order a copy for the gorgeous UWS nature calendar advertised in the WSR but it was listed as available only on Amazon. I contacted the WSR and on New Year’s Day got a reply (!) offering to put me in touch with the creator directly, who is now posting me calendar, overseas! Brilliant! If we must shop online— and sometimes we do— we can do it responsibly.
Why would anyone prefer going to a store with a smaller selection at higher prices to lug bags back home? Why is that a better experience than having an unlimited selection at lower prices and generous return policies and free 2-day shipping? I’m not a fan of price gouging personally.
Let’s stop overromanticizing the mom-n’-pop shopping experience.
Since you asked “why…..”, I will try to respond to that question. The #1 reason is connectedness. The experience of walking into a independent shop in your own neighborhood with an owner onsite who knows you, can provide a sense of comfort and well being. The lack of anonymity makes a neighborhood safer and a place more enjoyable to live.
I would much rather touch and feel what I am buying. If it’s a book, I need to pick it up and leaf through it to see if it’s what I want to read. If it’s a storage container, I get a better sense of its size seeing it in real life rather than reading measurements on a screen. As for shoes, I would NEVER buy shoes that I couldn’t try on first—i have problem feet. And clothes? “generous return policies” involving going to the post office or FedEx or UPS cancel out any convenience in the buying end. Many products I do not want to buy online.
I purchased all of my kitchen gadgets online, and spent ages researching each item, only to find the best of everything available upstairs at Zabar’s. I would much rather shop the sales and use a little dolly than spend any more time staring at my screen.
There are plenty of chain stores on the UWS that offer good products and services that people need and are thriving.
Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods and the newly opened Target are always crowded.
The chains came in and drove up commercial rents, putting a lot of small retail out of business. Landlords left their spaces empty, holding out for the high rents paid by the big chains. Now the chains are consolidating or closing, leaving behind not only empty spaces, but a depleted small business landscape.
Throw in the Amazon juggernaut, and it’s not a good outlook for local retail. Radically rethinking ground-floor spaces is critical. There will never again be enough retail to fill all of it. Ever.
I am not surprised or disappointed. Money spent at chains go to the obscene salaries of corporate executives, while money spent at independent stores stays in the community. I hope the vacancies bring down rents and encourage more entrepreneurs. Even if we have to pay a little more for our goods, we should all be supporting our local merchants. They make the Upper West Side unique and interesting.
How do you know that money spent at independent stores stays in the community? Do all the owners live in the same community and spend their money only there? Do all their workers live there, too? I’d like to hear your information or sources that support your theory.
One thing local businesses do is pay local taxes. And local business owners may not all live on the UWS, but they don’t live in Palm Beach or California.
I don’t think it’s that simple, and my extended family has owned several small businesses over the years.
The price difference of goods between small stores and chain stores may be understandable but can be significant sometimes. It’s not realistic for most people to pay double the price for food and home basics. And by necessity, most small stores arent open as many hours and don’t have as much in stock.
Small businesses that offer unique items and excellent service offer a different kind of value, but I for example don’t buy a huge number of toys, decorative housewares, jewelry and other items that my favorite local small businesses have.
Chain stores provide a real service to most of us, so I’m not lumping them all together as evil.
I like mom and pop stores too – but some of the employees at the CVS on 77th and Broadway are among the most helpful I’ve found anywhere. It may be a big chain store – but I’ve had employees there go above and beyond several times.
Same is true about the manager and staff at CVS on WEA at 70th. Great store
We should support new businesses that have been brave enough to open during the pandemic. Broad Nosh on 86th and Broadways makes their own bagels and they’re yummy
We may be losing chain stores but we must be the veterinary center of the whole tri-state area.
Wouldn’t it be delightful to see them replaced with privately owned businesses? Any chance of that?
What do you mean by “privately owned businesses”?
Unless the government owns the business it is “privately owned”.
REBNY rules New York. Will retail rents go up when the Pandemic is over? The new Mayor must
Not only agree with what Craig said but find peoples’ expectations of new businesses starting up in a drastically lower rent environment to be foolish. The same reasons for which chain stores fled their locations apply to other businesses, too. It’s the struggling retail and economic environment for almost every business. If the stronger national chains can’t make it, why would one think an independent newcomer would?
Kathy, you are clueless. The individual landlords set rents and many have been losing their shirts. Did you know 25-50% of all rent is collected just to pay Real Estate Taxes.
REBNY does not set or advise landlords in rents. Landlords are struggling like everyone else.
Not sure what this list means by “closed”. For example, for SoulCycle, yes, there were 21 NYC locations and they all had to close under he NYS PAUSE order. The SoulCycle app now lists only 19 — I notice that the one at West End Avenue and West 60th is not listed, for example. Of the 19 listed, 3 have reopened in the sense that they are running classes outside nearby the indoor locations.
I suspect almost all of the locations will come back after COVID-19 recedes. Most SoulCycle locations are in buildings that are owned by the parent Related, which makes a difference.
Not to harp on Soul so much —- the point is this list seems to not differentiate between gone forever and temporarily closed.
Sadly the UWS particularly between W.66th and W.79th is a wasteland of homeless aggressive panhandlers, filthy streets, empty stores, belligerent booksellers and now a horrible Shoprite owned Fairway. Who on earth would want to start a business here? We have filed several complaints with 311 about this so-called Fairway. They are using our streets as their garbage dumps and loading docks. It’s completely illegal. Their merchandise resides on our sidewalk blocking our ability to walk past the store. We have to walk in traffic to get past it. We have given up on this neighborhood. Filthy rude Fairway was the final nail in the coffin. No one seems to be able to do anything. Linda Rosenthal? Where are you? Who can help us?
No chain store should allowed here anyway!! Before Rudy was mayor, the only chain stores in NYC were chains that started here, none were allowed to come in. Rudy changed that law and it completely killed all the mom & pop businesses and the flavor of NYC!
Louder for the people in the back
Why do you live in America?
And sleepys on broadway between 108-109
Is the store Bolton’s still open in the city? I left NYC in 2014.
I agree that chain stores are less than ideal for neighborhood diversity and charm, but at this point beggars cannot be choosers. For all their drawbacks, the chains pay tax, employ people and fill up the storefronts. As it stands now the UWS, particularly Broadway north of 66th to 96th street, is a sad trail of abandoned and decaying empty retail space. Maybe abolishing the commercial rent tax would be a good start to see if commerce can be revived.
The Mayor and The Govenor with their stupid lockdowns has caused small businesses and chains to fade away from neighborhoods. They have taken things too far and people are packing up leaving NY State one by one it’s becoming rundown and filthy again like it was in the 70s and 80s. Good Luck with that.
You missed Maison Keyser in the west 70’s & B’way on a NW B’way corner. It was expensive with wonderful breads and pastries. GONE!
part of this effect is coincident with the general decline everywhere of brick-and-mortal stores that sell apparel. I am stunned by the difference that i see just on broadway in the past decade. filene’s, loehman’s, century 21 have been mentioned — also liberty house, barney’s, and the clothing chains including the gap, club monaco, ann taylor, and banana republic. not that shopping is the most auspicious pasttime, but i used to take for granted that i could shop in any number of places on a given day. now? almost all gone.
I wish NYC creates more Atrium space in the empty store space.
There is one Atrium in Lincoln Center, also a few in Midtown. I want to see Spectrum donates Cable/WiFi access in the area, so that homeless children can attend online courses from there.
Lincoln centers Atrium was built less than 20 years ago, a happy time when we had different Mayer.
Mom and Pop stores are overrated. Often Mom and Pop hate what they have been been trapped into doing for a living. And sometimes Mom and Pop hate each other.