For the second year running, the Bronx has led all five NYC boroughs in chain store growth according to a recent survey.
The ninth annual State of the Chains report released by the Center for Urban Future pegged growth in Bronx chain stores at 4.2 percent for the period of August 2015 to August 2016.
This was the largest leap upwards of any of the boroughs.
National retailers that opened new locations in the borough include Dollar Tree with 16 new locations as well as Dunkin Donuts, Metro PCS and T-Mobile which added three stores each, according to the report.
The areas of the borough having the greatest number of chain stores according to the report are the 10475 zip code in Co-op City, where the Bay Plaza Mall and Mall at Bay Plaza is located, with 86 national retailers, up from 77 in 2015; the 10462 zip code in Parkchester which had 80 chain stores in 2016 and 81 the year before; and 10451 in Highbridge and Morrisania with 76 in 2016 and 69 in 2015.
The borough is seeing a mix of national retail and food sector growth, said Jonathan Bowles, CUF executive director.
Bowles indicated that given the population of the borough, and the saturation of national retailers in Manhattan, expansion in the borough is expected to continue.
“The Bronx was probably poised for this growth for years,” said Bowles. “I think that for a number of years the Bronx was probably under retailed given the amount of people there and the buying power.”
The borough’s residents should expect job opportunities and amenities of having shopping options nearby that can attract other employers.
“While these may not be six figure jobs for the most part, they have been a growing source of jobs in the borough,” he said. “They are often an important entry point in the labor force for a lot of people and that cannot be diminished…for a lot of people a retail job can be that important first rung on the ladder.”
Nunzio Del Greco, president of the Bronx Chamber of Commerce, said that national franchises are driven to locations where there’s money and consumers.
“I think that it is a positive thing,” he said, adding “They view the Bronx as an area where they can set up locations to generate income and revenue.”
Del Greco believes that the national chains can complement existing ‘mom and pop’ stores and local retailers.
“There are always going to be people that are going to be upset about franchises because they feel that it is unfair competition to the small ‘mom and pops,’”said Del Greco. “But I think in the Bronx especially, where you have a lot of very close knit communities and loyal customers, those establishments are not going away because they have loyal customers, provide great customer service and they have relationships in the community.”
At the White Plains Road Business Improvement District, Joe Thompson, BID executive director, said that chain stores could draw in business and awareness to the BID that ultimately benefits other non-chain stores.