Technology publication Fast Company profiled San Francisco startup "Bodega," featuring a glorified vending machine created by former Google employees aiming to "make bodegas and mom-and-pop stores obsolete," and inspired ire amongst New Yorkers especially, considering that corner stores are the centers of our neighborhoods. Not only do we rely on them for our everyday needs, but many of the small business owners that run bodegas are immigrants, and striving to eliminate these businesses strikes as xenophobic. NYC's small businesses already face intense competition from large chain stores and high commercial rents; intending to replace them with "pantry boxes" would be a death knell for many who came to this country in pursuit of the American Dream, in addition to snuffing out much of the character and culture of our communities. We would forsake community beacons and jobs for ham-fisted convenience.
This Clip of the Week from "In Harlem" with Gerald Schultz paints the portrait of the everyday NYC small business owner, and the lengths they must go to just to break even. Many underserved entrepreneurs receive minor support and incentives from the city, unlike the larger businesses that receive tax breaks and the like, despite the fact that small businesses are a re-investment in the communities they exist in. Watch Gerald speak with Alexandria Rizio of Start Small Think Big who serves low- to moderate-income earners, many in Harlem, the Bronx and Brooklyn, to make the transition into business owners through legal and financial counseling.