Detested Bodega Startup Changes Name

The Oakland-based vending machine app changed its name to 'Stockwell' 10 months after fierce criticism.

Bodega is now Stockwell (Courtesy Stockwell)

When two former Google employees in Oakland launched Bodega, a vending machine startup in 2017, they were evidently clueless to the offense many would take to the concept.

Co-founder and CEO Paul McDonald issued an apology the same day they launched in September, assuring that they aren’t after urban corner stores and that the name “intended only admiration.” It wasn’t until this week when that Co-founder and CEO announced the company would start fresh as Stockwell.

“The inspiration for our former name, Bodega, was, we thought, an homage to the local corner store, the people who ran it, and their place in our collective conscious,” McDonald wrote. “We were wrong.”

Within hours, they quickly learned that maybe they shouldn’t promise to make mom-and-pop corner stores — often immigrant-owned and entrenched in their local communities — obsolete via a smartphone app and appropriate the name while they’re at it. Also, don’t mess with the sanctity of Bodega cats by making the company logo a kitty.

 

With a rebranding as Stockwell and a new app, the company can continue to offer a humanless interaction when ordering convenience store items like Advil or a bag of chips.

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