When I lived in Park Slope, Brooklyn I used to stop on the way home from the subway at a little grocery store, called the Yiyo. You could pick up just about anything you might need, from the basics of milk, bread, and toilet paper, to other essentials such as roach motels, birthday candles and shoe polish. Ahhh, city life.
It seems no matter where I’ve lived since there has been a little store like this. Overpriced, for sure, compared to the bigger grocery store four or five more blocks away. But you are paying a premium for the convenience and also helping support a small business, as most of these stores are family-owned.
I think that in my head, subconsciously, they’ve all been Yiyos. The little store downstairs on Ludlow Street, N.Y., the “Manhattan Market” on Connecticut Avenue in D.C. Even the Cumberland Farms on Route 9 in Waretown, N.J., which we walked to when we were kids to pick up snacks like Hostess fruit pies, Dannon yogurts, Bravos or Slim Jims. I think that store is in its latest incarnation is a Wawa.
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As I look around and see so many storefronts shuttered or empty in our current economy I can’t help but hope that the Yiyos won’t be affected. It’s tough times all over for sure, and I could probably pick up that can of Progresso soup cheaper somewhere else. SuperTarget for instance. But I wouldn’t get to exchange pleasantries with the store owner. And my daughter wouldn’t get the occasional free Twizzler slipped in the bag. It wouldn’t be the Yiyo.