Seward Park Co-Op Board Ditches Dunkin’

Tompkins Square Bagels vs. Dunkin' DonutsDaniel Maurer Outside of T.S.B. earlier today.

Chains aren’t just an East Village issue. Our neighbors to the south are grappling with them as well.

A group of Seward Park Co-Op residents have convinced the Lower East Side housing complex’s board of directors (at least for the moment) not to lease out a pair of Grand Street storefronts to a Dunkin’ Donuts and 7-Eleven, according to an e-mail sent out today. But the e-mail’s joyful opening – “We Won!!!!!!! Congratulations! WOO-HOO!  Yipeeee!” – is followed by sobering words: “Now it’s time for the hard work.”

Auguste Olson, a shareholder of the Co-Op who started a petition asking the board of directors not to take on the corporate behemoths as tenants, sent the e-mail to fellow residents. During a special meeting last night, it said, the board voted to give the group of shareholders three weeks to “find other strong businesses that would meet the communities [sic] needs and wants.” The message goes on to say, “This proves that when like minded individuals come together, we can achieve great things!”

In the e-mail, Ms. Olson also encourages residents to continue circulating the petition, which has now garnered over 550 signatures, and to “think of the types of businesses or specific stores that you feel would bring added value to Grand Street.”

According to the Lo-Down, which has been covering the anti-chains campaign, Seward Park Co-Op residents who have been posting on a message board are divided about the chains. “Some residents have argued that the chains would offer services people in the neighborhood want and provide the co-op with much needed revenue,” writes the Lo-Down. “Others have suggested that pleas for small “mom-and-pop”  stores (code in their eyes for gentrification) are  misguided in a neighborhood that is becoming more affluent but is still predominantly middle and low income.”

Meanwhile, back in the East Village, Tompkins Square Bagels, which spoke out against chains earlier, is back at it. Check out the sign we spotted earlier today.