Grocery apps are trying to shed the reputation of New York hubs

Grocery delivery apps are looking to satisfy angry neighbors and New York City Council members by rebranding their potentially illegal delivery points and shipments as high-tech retail locations open to the public.

When the Legion of Apps – including Gopuff, Getir, Gorillas and Jokr – were launched in the five boroughs over the past year, they stole space for dark shops previously occupied by deli and boutiques, turning the spaces into “dark ones”. Stores “that contain groceries and are closed to the public.

Some local politicians have accused the apps of violating designation laws by removing warehouses from retail properties, while local residents have struggled with the constant movement of electric bikes as well as workers roaming and smoking outside delivery centers at all hours of the day.

“Fast grocery delivery companies have realized that a dark store was nothing more than the modern version of shit house,” Britt Lad, a retail consultant who works with fast delivery companies, told The Post. “They had the ugly cover on the window, people could not go in if they were not working there. It attracted people who would hang out and there were a number of complaints about the noise and traffic.”

In some cases, the post viewed floors of garbage disposal centers. In others, delivery workers were seen riding electric bicycles and scooters at lightning speed on city sidewalks. Even the cleanest and most organized hubs seem to include fluorescent lighting and spoiled decor.

“Fast grocery delivery companies have realized that a dark store is nothing more than the modern version of shit house,” retail consultant Britain Lad told the Post.
William Farrington
Brooklyn gorillas
Dark stores like this Gorillas location in Brooklyn are now open for personal shopping.
Gabriella Bass

But now, in an alleged effort to satisfy the designation laws as well as the annoying neighbors, many of the shipping apps, including Getir, Gopuff and Gorillas, have started opening their stores to incoming customers.

Getir delivery centers around the city have added “entrance to the entrance” signs to their storefronts in March. The gorilla hubs also removed a ribbon from their windows and added “Pick up at the store!” Signs for their stores in March, as first reported by the post. GoPuff told The Post that its stores have always welcomed incoming customers, but some of its stores have not posted “sign-in” hours until recently. Joker did not respond to a request for comment if she receives entries or plans to add them.

Critics say the store’s start-up signs are little more than an attempt to pull the wool out of the eyes of concerned city council members like Gail Brewer and Christopher Marta, who both urged city agencies to investigate whether the apps violate designation laws.

Even the cleanest shipping hubs feature fluorescent lighting and rotten decor.
Gabriella Bass

This idea is reinforced by the fact that the Getir, Gorillas and GoPuff apps do not seem to give users the option to pick up at the store, but only offer shipping.

“Although customers can currently log in and place pick-up orders at the store, we understand that the process is not as efficient as we would like it to be,” Gattier founder Nazim Slur 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 are here for the long term and look forward to working with city officials and community leaders, as we create good jobs throughout New York City and provide a time-saving service that New Yorkers have already begun to adopt,” Slur added.

The gorillas declined to comment. Joker did not respond to requests for comment.

Many of the shops open to the public also disregard municipal rules that require shops to accept cash and include clearly marked prices on all items, among others, according to council member Brewer.

“You should have labels on the grains,” Brewer told the Post. “That’s the law.”

Gopuff has also opened several places for personal shopping in what critics claim is an effort to evade city zoning laws.
William Farrington
Dark shops
Neighbors complained about electric bike traffic.
Gabriella Bass

Ladd, the retail consultant, said delivery apps must work to make their stores as “inviting as possible” in an effort to both appease the city council and satisfy the neighbors, who may begin to see the stores as neighborhood rather than dismal institutions. Eye sores.

“What I said to Gettir and what I said to gorillas is that you need to change the perception of fast delivery of groceries from something mysterious to something inviting,” Lad said.

But Ladd added that many of the start-ups were reluctant to let outside people into their stores because they “mistakenly believed they should keep secret what they did in those stores.”

“I told everyone: None of you have a competitive advantage in this,” he said. “You all do the same thing.”

Fridge No More and Buyk, two other fast-shipping start-ups that folded in March, as reported exclusively by the Post, had no signs welcoming customers to their stores.

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