Bodega owners are calling for help from the City.

Bodega owners across New York City are calling on the de Blasio and future Adams administrations to help them in the face of the booming grocery delivery app industry.

Bodega and Small Business Group Founder Francisco Marte and United Bodegas of America President Radhamés Rodríguez said in a press release that new delivery app startups that offer 10-20 minute grocery delivery compete directly with family-run bodegas, and risk putting them out of business, amNY reports.

“If we don’t take action, thousands of our businesses will close their doors in the next six months, creating additional food deserts and harming New Yorkers’ access to food,” the pair said.

This year alone, a handful of new startups have launched in New York City — including Gorillas, Buyk and JOKR — offering instant deliveries with little to no fee and items often priced lower than they are in bodegas.

The growing popularity of the apps threatens the role bodegas play in their communities and their longevity, Marte and Rodgriguez say, especially as bodegas received no financial assistance during the pandemic and many are struggling to catch up on rent and bills.

Marte told amNY that the City needed to invest in its bodegas through targeted programs, including developing technology such as bodega-only apps that could keep them competitive.

“Bodegas are not too savvy with this technology,” he said.

“It would be great if the new administration could help to create some technologies that help the bodegas against those dark store corporations. Everything is turning to more technologies, we cannot be left behind.”

The new delivery app startups are typically backed by venture capitalists, amNY reports, and work by purchasing their stock and storing it in small warehouses called “dark stores” with small delivery radiuses.

Marte and Rodriguez both questioned the zoning regulations where such stores were opening “to prevent unregulated micro-fulfillment hubs in residential zones and commercial zones.” They also said the apps should have to offer EBT services to their customers online.

The pair said Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer was interested in looking into the issue, and they hoped to increase awareness amongst politicians when the administrations had changed.

“I just want to keep fighting against them,” Marte said.

“These corporations have billions of dollars to promote themselves. In the beginning, some of them, they can take a loss and they can compete with us. They know that they just want to establish a business, and they don’t give any support to the community.”

Meanwhile, he said, bodegas kept New York City running through the pandemic with staff risking their lives and families health “to give service to the community.”

“You see any problems happening, people, where do they run? To the closest bodega that is open for protection. If you don’t have money and you need something to eat, where do you go? To the bodega, to ask them to give you something until they can pay.”

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