Grocery delivery apps are looking to please angry neighbors and New York City Council members by rebranding their barebones and potentially illegal delivery hubs as high-tech retail locations open to the public.
As a slew of apps – including Gopuff, Getir, Gorillas, and Jokr – have launched in the five boroughs over the past year, they have taken up space for dark stores formerly occupied by delis and convenience stores, making the spaces “dark”. Stores” that house groceries and are closed to the public.
Some local politicians have Apps accused of violating zoning laws Running warehouses outside retail real estate, while locals took hold of the constant e-bike traffic, as well as workers loitering and smoking outside delivery centers at all hours of the day.
“Quick grocery delivery companies have realized that the dark store is nothing more than a modern version of crack house,” Britten Ladd, a retail consultant who works with express delivery companies, told The Post. They had an ugly cover over the window, and people couldn’t get in if they didn’t work there. It attracted long time travelers and there were a number of complaints about noise and traffic.”
In some cases, The Post has noted that the floors of delivery centers are littered with rubbish. In other cases, delivery workers were seen riding bicycles and e-scooters at lightning speed on city sidewalks. Even the cleanest and most organized hubs seem to feature fluorescent lighting and shabby décor.
But now, in an apparent effort to satisfy both zoning laws and harassing neighbors, several delivery apps, including Getir, Gopuff, and Gorillas, are beginning to open their stores to customers who visit.
Getir delivery centers across the city added “welcome to visit” signs to their storefronts in March. Gorillas also removed the film from their windows and added, “Receipt in store!” Signs to their stores in March, where First reported by the Washington Post. GoPuff told The Post that its stores have always welcomed customers, but some of its stores did not post “entry” hours until recently. Jacker did not respond to a request for comment on whether he accepts visits or plans to add them.
Critics counter that the pickup signs inside the start-ups’ stores are nothing more than an attempt to pull the wool from the eyes of concerned city councilors like Gail Brewer and Christopher Mart, who both have Urging city agencies to investigate Whether the applications violate zoning laws.
This idea is reinforced by the fact that the Getir, Gorillas, and GoPuff apps don’t seem to give users the option to opt for in-store pickup, rather than just offering delivery.
“While customers can currently place orders from the store, we recognize that the process is not as streamlined as we would like it to be,” Nazim Salor, founder of Getir, told The Post. “We are always working to improve our store operations, including improving the store experience. We expect these changes to be completed in the near future.”
“We’re here for the long-term and look forward to working with city officials and community leaders, as we create quality jobs across New York City and provide the time-saving service that New Yorkers are already beginning to embrace,” Salor added.
The gorilla declined to comment. Jakar did not respond to requests for comment.
Many stores open to the public also violate city rules that require stores to accept cash and include clearly stated prices on all items, among other regulations, according to councilman Brewer.
“You should have labels on the pills,” Pryor angrily told The Post. “this is the law.”
Ladd, the retail consultant, said delivery apps should work to make their stores “as attractive as possible” in an effort to please city council and neighbors, who might then start to view stores as neighborhood establishments rather than as bleak sores.
“What I said to Getir and what I said to Gorillas is that you should change the concept of express grocery delivery from being something mysterious to something attractive,” Ladd said.
But Ladd added that many startups were reluctant to allow foreigners into their stores because they “mistakenly thought they needed to keep what they did in those stores secret”.
“I told them all: None of you have a competitive advantage in this,” he said. “You all do the same thing.”
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