Report Details State of Chains
By MEGAN MONTALVO
When it comes to New York City, Baskin-Robbins, Carvel and Cold Stone Creamery have more in common than just ice cream.
According to a report released by the Center for an Urban Future, each chain has more locations in Queens than any other borough.
Among details showing that Queens registered a 2.1 percent gain in the number of chain stores over the past year, compared to a 5.4 percent growth in chains between 2010 and 2011, the Center's fifth annual State of the Chains study, which ranks national retailers in New York City, stated that the top five retailers with the most store locations in Queens in 2012 are: Dunkin' Donuts (142 stores), Subway (107), Baskin-Robbins (65), Metro PCS (63) and McDonald's (63).
"Compared to the other boroughs, Queens has a very interesting type of middle class consumer," said Jonathan Bowles, the executive director at the Center for an Urban Future. "From what we gathered in the study, it seems that chain stores recognize the buying power to be had in Queens and are taking advantage of it by adding more locations."
Over the last year, more than a dozen national retailers, including GameStop, NY Sports Clubs, 7-Eleven, GNC and Walgreens opened at least one additional store location in Queens.
On the down side, retailers with fewer stores in the Borough this year include CVS (a net loss of 3 stores), The Body Shop (-2) and White Castle (-1).
"Although the study shows an overall increase in the number of chain stores coming to Queens, I believe that it's still very much a borough that has an ample number of mom-and-pop stores," Bowles said. "An increase in the number of chain stores does not necessarily show a decline in the market for small businesses. Often, it encourages healthy competition, such as promoting the use of social media and technology."
Earlier last year, the Center released a separate report that showed an alarming share of the City's small businesses are still not using websites, online advertising, digital payroll systems and other technologies, putting them at a significant disadvantage against national chains, online companies and tech-savvy startups.
With the roll out of a new fiscal year, Rob MacKay of the Queens Economic Development Corp. said that both he and his team will be working to help local businesses adapt to the digital age.
"There is a lot of fear among small business owners that more national chains mean less business for them," MacKay said. "However, oftentimes the close proximity of a chain to a mom-and-pop can sometimes do the opposite, as we have seen in Hollis, where if it weren't for a Walgreen's agreeing to open in an abandoned plaza, it would have been very unlikely for a small business to thrive on its own. Consumers are attracted to variety, and having a mix of chain stores and small business gives people the luxury of choice."
Reach Reporter Megan Montalvo at (718) 357-7400 Ext. 128 or email@example.com.