BY YANNIC RACK | The growth of chain stores in Manhattan slowed down this year, but the East Village remains one of the neighborhoods with the highest amount of chain retail outlets citywide, according to a new report.
Placing third citywide on the Center for an Urban Future’s annual State of the Chains report, the 10003 zip code — which stretches between First and Fifth Aves. from 20th St. to north of Houston St. — boasted 163 chain stores in 2015, down by one from the previous year. That area includes part of the East Village, Union Square, Gramercy and part of the Washington Square district.
Over all, growth in chain store locations across the city slowed down over the last year, with a 1 percent increase in the number of national retail locations compared to a 2.5 percent gain over the previous year — giving a sliver of hope to small businesses in areas that have seen many priced out in recent years.
“It was very interesting to see that [the number of chain stores] is going down,” said Carol Crump, the managing director of the East Village Community Coalition, which has been working to save independent businesses in the neighborhood.
“The East Village is a very attractive place but at the same time it’s one of the most vulnerable places, because we actually do have quite a bit of a community feeling and a very high number of small businesses,” she said.
The coalition publishes a Get Local Guide every year — this year’s is the ninth edition — to promote local businesses, and it is working to establish an East Village Independent Merchants Association with grant money from the city’s Department of Small Business Services.
Crump said the slowing trend of chain dominance reinforced what she has been noticing in the neighborhood.
“I think people are really starting to love and appreciate the small businesses more, at least our local community,” she said. “But we do have a lot of influx, and it’s really important because the tourists that come don’t come to see a chain store.”
Other nearby zip codes saw a jump in chain store locations, with the 10009 area — which covers the East Village east of First Ave. — seeing five new openings this year to reach a total of 30 (a 20 percent increase from the previous year), and the Lower East Side and Chinatown, located in zip code 10002, registering one new location for a total of 48 (an increase of 2 percent).
Greenwich Village and Soho, in zip code 10012, remained stable from the past year, with 114 chain locations.
Starbucks leads the pack in Manhattan over all, with a whopping 220 locations across the borough, followed by Duane Reade / Walgreens and Subway.