By Adi Kurian and Elijah Johnston
As a child, I (Elijah) didn’t understand when my grandmother told me that everything comes back full circle. I thought she was messing up the words to the Lion King’s catchy tune, “The Circle of Life.” Some decades later and I find myself identifying resurgences disguised as anomalies.
Before the supermarket business model, specialized shops selling goods in a single category was the norm. A shift in the early- to mid-20th century and these shops found it nearly impossible to compete with larger retailers’ economies of scale. Now the arrival of a butcher, baker, or candlestick maker in a neighborhood is seen as an emblem of urban gentrification in many western economies.
So why the resurgence? Simply put, artisans provide a level of craft and specialization that commands a premium and differentiates their goods. Claims of craft and provenance boost their brand, but leave us questioning whether this intrinsically limits their ability to scale. Brands like Brooklyn Lager that have gone from provincial to global while keeping the artisanal feel hint that this might not be the case. What is the future of consumer perceptions as these brands continue to expand?
Here is a list of our top five artisanal shops and products here in New York:
- Bedford Cheese – Manchego Oveja Negra @ $32/lb.
- Empire Mayonnaise – Artisanal Mayonnaise @ $8 for a 9-oz. jar
- Dough – Dulche de Leche Donut @ $2.75 each
- Mast Brothers – Origin Dominican Republic Chocolate @ $45 for five bars
- Café Gitane – Avocado Toast @ $7.25 each