The New York City Bag Ban | What It Means To You
Updated: Mar 4
Hey, It’s Phil from Three Guys from Brooklyn. I want to personally address misinformation, or at the very least, provide clarity about the NYC Bag Ban and what Three Guys is doing.
The ban will go into effect on March 1st, 2020 and, despite what the city says, will have a huge impact on small businesses who are fighting to be successful in a city with more and more empty storefronts and fewer mom-and-pop neighborhood businesses. Three Guys have always been transparent with our customers. While we support a living wage and are environmentally friendly, we can't help but address recent laws that have made it increasingly more difficult for family-owned businesses like ours to operate under regulations that overlook the cost to the employer and inevitably affect the consumer. There are three main challenges with the NYC Bag Ban.
First, let’s start with the cost to our bottom line. There are those that think that employers will benefit or be unaffected by selling reusable and/or paper bags. That is just not the case for Three Guys. The NYC Bag Ban is devastating to our business. Plastic bags cost us about 1-2 cents each. Paper bags cost 16-18 cents. In addition to that, the city will take 5 cents as a tax. Three Guys go through roughly 92,400 plastic bags every 2 weeks. What used cost $2,079, will now cost us $15,246 for the exact same amount of bags. That’s an expense of over $330,000 a year! How can any small business be expected to manage this cost?
As a small business, we simply will not survive. Like many others, we have no choice but to pass the cost onto consumers who need bags and promote reusable and paper bags with every sale. Again, we understand the harm plastic bags can do to the environment. A full and complete bag ban should allow for some transition over time with a cost-effective solution for businesses as well as consumers. The city has not provided that time.
The second big challenge with the NYC Bag Ban is the customer experience and how it will change. As a consumer myself, I often pop into a local store, unplanned, for items I may need. I am not always carrying a reusable tote. As a consumer, I will now be forced to either buy a bag or leave half my purchase at the store. Not only is this frustrating to me as the consumer, but it’s a true hardship on the local store owner that has now lost a sale. I know that Three Guys and our customers will be impacted in the same way. While our corner store may be a planned destination, oftentimes, we are a spur of the moment stop during someone's day.
Lastly, let’s address competition in a very regulated city. It's getting increasingly more difficult to remain competitive. Three Guys from Brooklyn runs a legitimate business and follows all rules and regulations. In order to survive, small businesses may need to cut corners so their prices can remain low or competitive. How can Three Guys remain competitive if other stores decide to undercut bag pricing by cutting corners somewhere else? Additionally, how can we compete with big box stores that have less difficulty absorbing the costs of the bag ban because they have the purchasing power to buy to massive quantities at a low cost? Three Guys does not want to be another empty NYC storefront in a community we love so much.
So, what is Three Guys going to do about it?
We are going to continue to be as transparent as we can with our customers. We may have to adjust our operation and bag strategy over time. We appreciate your patience and your feedback.
We will continue to provide quality products at a great value. We do not plan to increase the cost of goods. However, there will likely be an additional cost to consumers who need bags. For customers who bring their own bags, you will not be affected. As of now, we will be charging .15 cents per paper bag in addition to the .05 bag tax. SNAP customers will be exempt from the .05 bag tax.
Three Guys will offer paper bags and over-sized reusable bags that can fit double the amount than the standard size as well as standard size reusable when they become available.
As a Three Guys Customer, please know how much we value your business. We do our best to absorb as much of the cost as we can while still operating in a way that allows us to continue to conduct business responsibly. Also, please remember we didn’t write the law. We are just complying with it like we always do. We hope to navigate through this major change together.
We look forward to seeing you at Three Guys from Brooklyn!
Phil Penta | Managing Partner
Three Guys From Brooklyn