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Bodega startup wants to disrupt mom and pop shops. Wait, what??

(BUSINESS NEWS) Two ex-googlers are now taking on the corner store industry by installing vending machine stores in order to disrupt the mom and pop shops… Wait, what?!

bodega

Convenience and community

Bodegas are an integral part of different neighborhoods throughout the world. Shopping within these spaces not only gives a sense of convenience but also a sense of community. However, two guys are looking to change that.

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Paul McDonald and Ashwath Rajan, two former employees of Google, have created a robotic alternative to these bodegas. And, what have they named it? Bodega.

Bodega vending machines

According to Fast Company, the business partners plan to make vending machine corner stores that offer items from candy to La Croix. The vending machines will span five feet wide and can be accessed by using an app.

They are plotting to have 100,000 machines across the country, and have released a few on the West Coast. These vending machines are in direct competition to actual bodegas, and will be painful for mom and pop corner stores.

Is it insensitive?

“The vision here is much bigger than the box itself,” McDonald said to Fast Company. “Eventually, centralized shopping locations won’t be necessary, because there will be 100,000 Bodegas spread out, with one always 100 feet away from you.”

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To add insult to injury, the company’s logo is “Bodega” written across a cat’s head. This is in reference to cats often being inside of bodegas.

McDonald was asked as to whether or not he found the name to be insensitive. He stated that he is not concerned due to the fact that they distributed a survey within Latin American communities asking if they thought the name was a misappropriation. Results found that 97 percent said “no.”

Lessening community

However, not everyone agrees. The chairman of the New York State Coalition of Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Frank Garcia, stated: “To me, it is offensive for people who are not Hispanic to use the name ‘bodega,’ to make a quick buck,” Garcia said. “It’s disrespecting all the mom-and-pop bodega owners that started these businesses in the ’60s and ’70s… Bodegas can’t compete with this technology, because it is so much more expensive to have a brick-and-mortar store than a small machine. To compete with bodegas and also use the ‘bodega’ name is unbelievably disrespectful.”

McDonald and Rajan began testing the pantries in the Bay Area and hope to have more than a thousand machines up and running by the end of 2018. With this, you may find convenience, but no community.

#NotMyBodega

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Staff Writer, Taylor Leddin is a publicist and freelance writer for a number of national outlets. She was featured on Thrive Global as a successful woman in journalism, and is the editor-in-chief of The Tidbit. Taylor resides in Chicago and has a Bachelor in Communication Studies from Illinois State University.

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