Electric Literature’s Bodega Project is the literary counterpoint to the tech start-up

Online literary magazine Electric Lit’s recent Bodega Project is an appreciative counter to the new tech firm called Bodega.

Launched by two ex-Google staffers, Bodega (the start-up) received some harsh criticism this week for threatening the beloved corner stores. The company aims to install 5-foot-wide boxes stocked with non-perishable pantry items across the country; automated, they are unlocked with an iPhone.

If you think that sounds a little impersonal, even sterile, for being named after mom and pops frequently inhabited by adorable cats, you’re not alone. Critics warn that their model could hurt actual immigrant- and minority-owned businesses, and that their branding itself is culturally insensitive.

“Real bodegas are all about human relationships within a community,” said Frank Garcia, the chairman of the New York State Coalition of Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, who represents thousands of bodega owners, to Fast Company.

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