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This startup could replace mom-and-pop stores, and no one is happy about it
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Fast Company profiled the new startup, which calls to develop unmanned pantry boxes in apartment buildings, offices and college dorms. You may even find one outside a gym. - photo by Herb Scribner
If one thing has stood the test of digital innovation, its been mom-and-pop stores and bodegas.

But now a new startup, called Bodega, plans to take those places away, too.

Fast Company profiled the new startup, which calls to develop unmanned pantry boxes in apartment buildings, offices and college dorms. You may even find one outside a gym.

It promises convenience, but also represents competition for many mom-and-pop stores, according to Fast Company.

Who started it?: The startups creators, Paul McDonald and Ashwarth Rajan, are both Google veterans.

What does it do?: The founders said the startup will create an app that will allow you unlock one of the aforementioned pantry boxes, which will then take note of what you bought and charge your credit card thereafter.

Where is it?: There are currently 50 locations spread across the West Coast. The founders hope to have 1,000 locations by the end of 2018.

Whats the goal: They even plan for a larger vision, where there are so many of these boxes that actual shops are obsolete.

The vision here is much bigger than the box itself, McDonald told Bodega. Eventually, centralized shopping locations wont be necessary because there will be 100,000 Bodegas spread out, with one always 100 feet away from you.

They also want to develop partnerships with other retailers, so shoppers can find miniature versions of stores.

McDonald said that includes working with brick-and-mortar stores.

Brick-and-mortar retailers have been scrambling to try and keep up with Amazon, but we believe they have an opportunity to take a different approach, McDonald said. They could bring the products to where people already are so that they can access them immediately, when they need them. This beats out any two-hour deliveryor even half-hour deliveryalternative.

A little on the backlash: Bodega received a heavy amount of criticism on Wednesday, though, following Fast Companys profile piece. In fact, Bodega became one of the nationally trending items on Twitter Wednesday.

What happened next: Following the backlash, McDonald wrote a Medium piece, talking about how they never meant to cause such concern, according to Business Insider.

"Challenging the urban corner store is not and has never been our goal," McDonald wrote in the Medium piece. "(They) offer an integral human connection to their patrons that our automated storefronts never will."

In fact, McDonald said he wanted to add boxes to areas where there arent already stores.

"Like NYC's bodegas, we want to build a shopping experience that stands for convenience and ubiquity for people who don't have easy access to a corner store," he wrote.
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