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Manhattan store owner: 'Amazon is a monster' that will 'destroy swaths of the country'

Daniel Roberts

Amazon saw another massive Prime Day this year, with sales besting last year’s Prime Day and revenue for Amazon likely near $2 billion, according to an estimate from RBC Capital Markets. Amazon says it sold more than 1 million smart home devices, and more than 100 million items.

As Amazon keeps growing each year, and attracting more holdouts to join Prime, fear grows. From brick-and-mortar retailers, to those in the grocery business, to big pharmaceuticals, everyone (and their shareholders) tends to run scared when Amazon announces new initiatives.

And one brick-and-mortar shop owner in New York City says that most people still aren’t as scared about Amazon as they should be.

“Amazon is a monster,” says Jay Goldberg, owner of Bergino Baseball Clubhouse, a baseball art and memorabilia shop that opened in 2010. “People have no clue what’s coming down the path. Amazon is going to destroy a lot of businesses, a lot of people, swaths of the country. It’s already starting, and it’s not even close to where it’s going to be.”

Jay Goldberg, owner of Bergino Baseball Clubhouse in New York. (Nick Monte/Oath)

Goldberg adds that it is Amazon, and online shopping writ large, that is more responsible for the decline of brick-and-mortar retail than any other factor, though in New York in particular people tend to blame greedy landlords, who hike up rents. To be sure, e-commerce still represents less than 10% of all US retail sales, according to the most recent figures from the US Census.

People say, ‘New York is not what it used to be, there’s no little shops anymore.’ Then they walk out the door, and then they go on Amazon,” he says. “You can’t have it both ways. Either you want to support small business, or you don’t. New York retail I know pretty well: it’s finished. Small business retail is done. That boat has sailed, it’s not coming back. I know people want to blame landlords. It’s not the landlord. People don’t like when I say this: it’s you.”

Amazon’s biggest acquisitions, by price, as of July 2018. (Graphic by David Foster/Oath)

As Amazon spreads its tentacles and continues to enter a range of new industries, many are now wondering whether the e-commerce giant might soon face antitrust scrutiny. And earlier this month, the FTC brought on board legal fellow Lina Khan, who has argued in support of pursuing Amazon on antitrust grounds.

Daniel Roberts covers sports, tech, media, and retail at Yahoo Finance. He hosts the podcast and video series Sportsbook and the daily show Business + Coffee. Follow him on Twitter at @readDanwrite

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