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| Press Release

EpiFruit to Resolve the Predicted Retail Vacancy Increase

NEW YORK, NY / ACCESSWIRE / January 10, 2018 / Due to its higher income residents and sheer population density, Manhattan is generally thought to be more resistant to the business cycles that affect the majority of America. However, in recent years, stubbornly high rents, a movement away from brick and mortal retail, and increasing competition from new neighborhoods has taken a toll on downtown New York City's real estate market. In a late July Marcus & Millichap report, vacancy rates were up 10 percent in both Manhattan and Brooklyn through the third quarter, and they are predicted to continuously increase over the next five years. EpiFruit, a groundbreaking delivery platform that connects businesses to independent contractors to fulfill customer orders, has a solution to help small business owners adapt to the new market while increasing profitability.

"Retailers are experiencing painful adjustments right now, there's no doubt about it," said Rafe Evans, a broker with the firm Walker, Malloy and Company. Evans and other Manhattan community officials, landlords and bankers have noticed that once packed streets are now lined with windows filled with signs reading, "store for rent." Hit by deep discounting from online shops and competition from emerging neighborhoods, many tenants have not been able to keep up with New York's high cost of living. But as the excess supply of vacant store frontage has started to takes its toll on landlords, rents have begun to decrease. The Real Estate Board of New York recently reported that rates in Manhattan are down nearly across the board. In SoHo, one of the trendiest downtown areas, prices have dipped 10 percent from 2016, while high end commercial properties on the Upper East Side have decreased a staggering 24 percent.

With a renewed focus on adapting to the modern age of retail, many business owners are turning to EpiFruit to help bridge the gap. The creators of EpiFruit found that consumers would rather buy from local stores as opposed to shopping online, but most don't offer the same conveniences, namely delivery. Retailers who have begun offering this service in New York City commonly experience a 20 to 30 percent increase in total sales, accompanied by a stronger presence in the local market. However, with minimum wages slated to rise to 15 dollars an hour in 2019, the majority of small business owners will not be able to afford staffing a delivery driver fulltime. A market based platform that connects businesses with independent contractors who can fulfill delivery requests, EpiFruit will help maximize the efficiency, cash flow, and customer satisfaction of the city's brick and mortar shops.

With the goal to help maximize efficiency, cash flow, and working atmosphere for both parties involved with the transaction, while transcending boundaries and different market types, EpiFruit connects individuals and businesses to facilitate a delivery of goods and products without the need for a conventional delivery methods. When a sale is made that requires a delivery, storeowners can use EpiFruit's convenient app to find an affordable, on-demand partner to complete the order. The retailer inputs the details of the shipment, establishes a maximum and minimum bid, then chooses from an assortment of drivers based on their preference of pricing, rating, location and mode of transportation. E-signatures that can be viewed easily at any time are received at pickup and drop-off to confirm the success of the purchase. Currently offering services in the Manhattan area of New York, EpiFruit plans to expand as their network grows.

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SOURCE: EpiFruit