99 cents store, dollar store, discount store, bargain store, variety store, dollar tree. These places have many names and represent a ubiquitous but oftentimes invisible part of New York City's landscape. In many neighborhoods, particularly in low-income and Black and brown communities, where major chains or supermarkets choose not to locate, 99 cents stores fill in the gap and can serve as places for purchasing low-cost food, home goods, school supplies, beauty products, and clothing. Even though the demand of these stores is the result of exclusion, they have also become resources for creativity and homemaking, allowing people to DIY projects, and make improvements to their homes while spending a relatively small amount of money. No two 99 cents stores are the same: some are chain stores that made a calculated decision to locate in low-income neighborhoods, but many are mom-and-pop shops that provide immigrant communities the opportunity for business ownership. Through data mapping and visual interplays, we want to make visible discount stores - their textures and products - and examine how we value, display, and see 99 cents objects.
99 cents & Up & Up Exhibit
In March 20221, we exhibit through the Design through Design Ground Truth show. You can learn more about our exhibit ︎ here.
For the exhibit, we also made a booklet sharing our research, methodology, and ponderings about 99 cents stores, aka, our attempt to make sense of 99 cents. This zine is the first part of a deeper dive into these spaces and future inquiry-based artwork. Download a digital copy ︎ here.
We would love to hear from you! So much that we even made a little zine to entice you!
Download a digital copy ︎ here to share.