‘When we walk into our corner store … it’s personal. You know the person working, they know your neighbourhood … the cat may belong to the store but when you walk in you feel it’s partly yours too,’ says founder Rob Hitt

Two former Google employees’ proposal to replace corner shops with automated cabinets promoted an outpouring of scorn on social media last week, but in among the gags (“vending machines already exist”) and the slurs was a semi-serious concern: won’t somebody think of the cats?

Bodegas’ resident cats are symbolic of the personable, one-to-one service and relaxed environment that people appreciate about their local corner store – the kind of service and ambiance it’s hard to replicate in a pantry for non-perishables. The Bodega entrepreneurs’ choice of logo, a cat’s face, was perceived to be just as inappropriate as their chosen name.

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