When Duane Reade announced it wanted to open a store in the hip poseur enclave neighborhood of Williamsburg in Brooklyn, it faced stiff opposition from locals and bloggers who feared it would destroy the area’s charm and drive a nearby local pharmacy out of business. So the pharmacy chain bought over the natives with beer.
Two decades ago, when Barnes & Noble stores began popping up in every shopping center, strip mall and vacant lot in America, community advocates and fans of locally owned stores pointed at the chain as another example of a homogenized corporation coming in and erasing part of a neighborhood’s identity. But people still shopped there, and most people have gotten accustomed to the B&N being part of their local landscape. So much so that the NY Times has penned an elegy to one Manhattan Barnes & Noble that is closing its doors.
In a move sure to raise the blood pressure of those angry people who remember New York City before it had a Kmart and a bunch of Best Buys, Urban Outfitters has designed an “ironic” storefront built to resemble the sort of bodegas, little hardware stores and other independent businesses that New York used to be composed of.
The Times is reporting that recession-fearing chain stores like Best Buy, Home Depot, and Circuit City are increasingly more desperate to clinch sales by negotiating prices. Hit the jump to see how ordinary shoppers are wielding research and charisma to knock added savings out of retailers.
After Hurricane Katrina, La Madeleine, a cafe and bakery that had occupied space in the French Quarter for 23 years, moved out, claiming that it didn’t get enough of a break on its rent following the storm. Now the site sits vacant, waiting for its next tenant. Will it be Starbucks?