NEW YORK—PepsiCo enlisted Bronx natives and entertainers Desus Nice and The Kid Mero to help spotlight and thank the city’s bodegas for rising to the task of staying open and keeping the city going during the pandemic.
In the short film The Bodega Giveback released earlier this month, Pepsi brings Desus and Mero (of the Bodega Boys podcast and Showtime’s Desus & Mero) to JJN Corp Deli and Grocery in the Bronx to surprise its owner, Juan, with the ultimate holiday gift—a check to help cover a full year of rent through 2021—as a show of gratitude for all he and his bodega have done for the neighborhood, especially during this crucial time.
“Bodegas are the lifeblood of the neighborhood and are central to the culture of New York. We’re children of immigrants—Juan’s story is our story—so we’re excited to work with Pepsi to be able to pay it forward and help him like he has done for so many,” said Desus Nice and The Kid Mero.
The drop of The Bodega Giveback kicked off a larger holiday giveback from Pepsi this season, which includes gifting cash to bodega owners and consumers across the five New York City boroughs.
“Pepsi has so many longstanding bodega partners in New York City—they are not only pillars of the community, but they have gone above and beyond to take care of their loyal customers during the hardships of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Umi Patel, CMO of North Division, PepsiCo Beverages North America.
“They have worked around the clock to stay open, filling shelves to ensure their customers, friends and family have the essentials they need to stay home and stay safe. They have even shifted their businesses to meet the needs of the community, offering new delivery options, adding crucial items like masks and gloves and more, all while dealing with their own personal challenges of the pandemic. We are proud to do our part in giving back to these unsung heroes,” Patel said.
Bodegas are a cherished part of the fabric of New York culture, as New Yorkers rely on them for everything, Pepsi noted. From firewood to flowers (and this time of year, even a Christmas tree!), household items to a family meal, bodegas supply it all.
And to encourage New Yorkers to shop at their local corner store this holiday season and to help ease the shopping spend this year, Pepsi surprised customers who shop at local bodegas across the five boroughs with pre-paid credit cards of up to $100 per customer.
For anyone who wants to shine a light on their local bodega, or has a heartening bodega story to share, Pepsi encourages New Yorkers to post on social platforms with #PepsiBodega, and their neighborhood bodega might be the next store to give back to this holiday season.
NACS loves to share stories of our hero convenience and fuel retailers. NACS Magazine spotlights some of them in the December 2020 cover story, “Look for the Heroes.”