Tech

NYC grocery delivery map shows every dark retail store

You know their logos. You’ve seen your delivery people. But if you try to enter one of their physical locations, you might not make it through the door.

Ultra-fast grocery delivery services like Gorillas, Getir, Jokr and Gopuff have exploded in New York City and elsewhere since the pandemic began, offering the promise of getting everyday items delivered to your door in minutes.

But the companies behind these services find themselves in a regulatory gray area, critics claim, often renting out and using storefronts intended for traditional retail outlets — that is, the kind where you can walk in and buy things off the shelves them as micro-fulfillment centers. These so-called dark shops often vaguely mimic the look of a regular store as they are filled with groceries, but shoppers attempting to enter are not welcome.

A handwritten sign on a Manhattan storefront says it’s not open to the public. The Buyk company recently ceased operations.

Some local lawmakers, including City Councilman Gale Brewer — former Manhattan Borough President — say these well-funded startups are unfairly competing with local bodegas that have operated in the city for decades. In a press release Monday, Brewer called the city authorities to provide more clarity about what exactly these services are and what rules they are supposed to follow.

“[Brick-and-mortar stores] operate in a challenging economic environment and carry a heavy regulatory burden that fulfillment centers are not subject to,” said Brewer.

Brewer also revealed one Interactive map and spreadsheet showing where these services operate from. According to the data, most are housed in spaces designated for either convenience retail or a specific storage class called 16D. Their research included 115 locations, including 48 in Manhattan, 42 in Brooklyn, 17 in Queens, 7 in the Bronx, and 1 in Staten Island.

[Source Images: BetaNYC]

The map is already a bit out of date since two of the services—purchase and fridge no more– have recently ceased operations. However, both companies had Russian backers Bloomberg points out that Fridge No More’s troubles started before the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Brewer isn’t the only New York City official to call out ultra-fast delivery services in recent months. Earlier this year Councilor Christopher Marte said he was working on a bill that would ban companies from promising groceries in 15 minutes, saying such promises create incentives for delivery drivers to pedal around the city at dangerous speeds.

You can look at the interactive map here.

https://www.fastcompany.com/90742301/dark-retail-stores-are-taking-over-nyc-heres-an-interactive-map-of-every-location?partner=feedburner&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=feedburner+fastcompany&utm_content=feedburner NYC grocery delivery map shows every dark retail store

JACLYN DIAZ

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