Aspiring startups can be in for a rude awakening when they decide to put their big idea out there, especially when that big idea is essentially reinventing something that already exists, and threatens to put a struggling industry out of business. That cruel reality is in full effect right now the company Bodega, which is rolling out what it calls "pantry boxes" full of non-perishable goods in communal spaces. In other words, they're developing personalized extra-large vending machines to install in apartment buildings and college dorms so people won't have to run out to their corner store to grab sundries and snacks.
While they've been up and running testing things out around the Bay Area for a while, the nascent brand faced a minor PR crisis after Fast Company published a profile about the company on Wednesday. It detailed Bodega's mission, but also explored why its plan to make neighborhood mom-and-pop corner stores obsolete might be a bad look, especially considering many of them are run by immigrants. They also asked the ex-Googlers who founded it why coopting the term Bodega -- itself a reference to the type of locally-owned shop it intends to eliminate -- as their brand name could be seen as insensitive.