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The Fancy Convenience Store Trend Is Spreading - Eater
"With their quinoa bibimbap bowls and $18 “vegan-friendly” condoms, these upscale mini-marts are no replacement for the traditional bodega"



"Concepts like these are sometimes called “bougie bodegas” in the media, and while appealingly alliterative, that phrase is also oxymoronic: Bodegas are for everyone, the kind of low-key corner stores found in every neighborhood, where blue-collar workers and Wall Street bros alike can rub shoulders whilst acquiring their morning bacon-egg-and-cheese or on a late-night emergency run for Twinkies and a box of Kraft mac and cheese. (That’s precisely why the ill-conceived startup Bodega, a line of “high-tech” vending machines intended to make corner stores obsolete, struck such a nerve; it has since changed its name to Stockwell.) These fancy mini-markets, on the other hand, sell the kind of items that only a very particular subset of the population likely sees a need for, let alone can afford.

But not all of these types of stores are quite so aspirational, with prices to match: The Goods Mart in Los Angeles’s Silver Lake neighborhood bills itself as a “socially conscious alternative to the modern convenience store,” and much of its pricing isn’t wildly out of line with what’s stocked at a 7-Eleven or mini-mart. Natural alternatives to popular candies like Starbursts and Kit-Kats clock in around two bucks, while burritos from local restaurant Burritos La Palma are $4; a four-pack of Seventh Generation toilet paper costs $5.95.

“Natural food always costs a little more because of the quality of the ingredients, but for us, we don’t want any food items in our store over $20,” owner Rachel Krupa says. “So [the key is] finding the cool partners that have great products [with more accessible pricing]. Like our cups of La Colombe drip coffee for $1.25 — sure, it’s not single-origin, but … our goal is having a better-for-you convenience store and we want people to actually be able to afford it.”

Everything at the Goods Mart is non-GMO, and there’s a focus on reducing use of plastics: All single-serve beverages come in Tetra-pak, aluminum, glass, or paper cups. Krupa says she wants to open 50 locations in the next five years, rattling off a list of cities that includes Detroit, Oklahoma City, and Nashville.

But while places like the Goods Mart may intend a certain level of egalitarianism, all these types of gussied-up convenience stores — whether they carry $6 toilet paper or $100 tins of caviar — are inextricably linked to gentrification. It’s no coincidence that these types of stores are opening in cities where rent prices are on the rise, with their target market being the type of consumer that cares about purchasing allegedly healthier snacks and so-called wellness products — and has enough disposable income to support those desires.

The emerging generation’s taste for health and wellness products also has a lot to do with it: Studies have shown that millennials and members of Generation Z in particular are prepared to pay premium prices for food they perceive as healthy, including GMO-free, organic, sustainable, and gluten-free items. (Emphasis on perceive: Many food companies are guilty of greenwashing, or making foods appear to be healthier or more “natural” than they actually are. Similarly, many small food startups get acquired by big corporations, meaning shoppers who think they’re buying from an indie company are actually handing their money over to the huge conglomerates they may actively be trying to avoid.)

As the neighborhoods served by corner stores gentrify and more young professionals move in, it makes sense that the markets themselves will change to suit the tastes of their residents — whether that simply means a 7-Eleven that ramps up its product selection with organic cold-pressed juices, or the opening of a new mini-mart carrying locally made doughnuts and fair-trade coffee.

The move toward corner stores carrying healthier food certainly isn’t unwelcome, and it’s also been many years in the making. Back in 2005, the NYC Department of Health launched the Healthy Bodegas Initiative, aimed at getting bodega owners to stock items like multigrain bread, low-fat milk, and fresh produce. Eight-dollar bottles of kombucha and house-made quinoa tagliatelle probably aren’t quite what the DOH had in mind.

But whether you call them bougie bodegas, fancy convenience stores, or just another example of the Instagram-fueled wellness craze that propels people to buy $150 yoga pants and water bottles with crystals in them, it’s undeniable that there’s a growing market for these types of stores. Whether or not such stores will actually make any significant contribution toward healthier eating or lessening environmental impact remains to be seen — but for a certain customer, buying a $6 kombucha instead of a Pepsi or an organic Justin’s brand peanut butter cup instead of a Reese’s certainly makes them feel good."
2018  conveniencestores  7-eleven  food  bodegas  classideas 
12 weeks ago by robertogreco
Sayaka Murata - Wikipedia
[See also Convenience Store Woman:
https://groveatlantic.com/book/convenience-store-woman/
https://www.newyorker.com/books/page-turner/sayaka-murata-eerie-convenience-store-woman-is-a-love-story-between-a-misfit-and-a-store
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/23/books/review-convenience-store-woman-sayaka-murata.html ]

"Sayaka Murata (村田沙耶香 Murata Sayaka) is a Japanese writer. She has won the Gunzo Prize for New Writers, the Mishima Yukio Prize, the Noma Literary New Face Prize, and the Akutagawa Prize.

Biography
Murata was born in Inzai, Chiba Prefecture, Japan in 1979. As a child she often read science fiction and mystery novels borrowed from her brother and mother, and her mother bought her a word processor after she attempted to write a novel by hand in the fourth grade of elementary school.[1] After Murata completed middle school in Inzai, her family moved to Tokyo, where she graduated from Kashiwa High School (attached to Nishogakusha University) and attended Tamagawa University.[2]

Kashiwa High School
Her first novel, Jyunyū (Breastfeeding), won the 2003 Gunzo Prize for New Writers.[3] In 2013 she won the Mishima Yukio Prize for Shiro-iro no machi no, sono hone no taion no (Of Bones, Of Body Heat, of Whitening City).[4] In 2016 her 10th novel, Konbini ningen (Convenience Store People), won the prestigious Akutagawa Prize,[5] and she was named one of Vogue Japan's Women of the Year.[6] Konbini ningen has sold over 600,000 copies in Japan, and in 2018 it became her first book to be translated into English, under the title Convenience Store Woman.[7]

Throughout her writing career Murata has worked part-time as a convenience store clerk in Tokyo.[8]

Writing style
Murata's writing explores the different consequences of nonconformity in society for men and women, particularly with regard to gender roles, parenthood, and sex.[9] Many of the themes and character backstories in her writing come from her daily observations as a part-time convenience store worker.[8] Societal acceptance of sexlessness in various forms, including asexuality, involuntary celibacy, and voluntary celibacy, especially within marriage, recurs as a theme in several of her works, such as the novels Shōmetsu sekai (Dwindling World) and Konbini ningen (Convenience Store Person), and the short story "A Clean Marriage."[10][11] Murata is also known for her frank depictions of adolescent sexuality in work such as Gin iro no uta (Silver Song)[12] and Shiro-iro no machi no, sono hone no taion no (Of Bones, of Body Heat, of Whitening City).[13]"
srg  japan  japanese  sayakamurata  howwewrite  conveniencestores  tokyo  asexuality  celibacy  marriage  gender  sexuality  nonconformity  parenthood  genderroles 
january 2019 by robertogreco

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