Now open: Top merchants. See where all the money goes
Allow me to get all Proud Mary for a minute. Our in-house datageeks have added "top merchants" to Everybody's Money, so now you can not only see how people like you — and not like you at all — are spending their money, you can find out where they've been spending it. For example:
- Americans love a bargain — and shoes. Three of the top 10 clothing merchants nationwide are discounters like TJ Maxx and Marshall's; two more are shoe stores DSW and Zappos.com.
- Starbucks clocks in high among midtown Manhattan restaurants, but so does Eatery, a local lunch spot with a great hummus w/pomegranate glaze, and Landmarc, which reportedly has one of the better hamburgers in New York.
- Who's still renting videos? People in Madison, Wis., for one: Blockbuster cracks the top 10 for entertainment spending.
There are also more than a few mysteries on the lists. Are Bostonians really spending a good portion of their entertainment dollars at Madison Square Garden in New York? My neighbors in Brooklyn are spending grocery money at Jetro Cash & Carry, a store I've never even heard of. (A quick web search reveals it's some kind of wholesaler, and I suspect this has something to do with the bodegas, New York's homegrown version of a 7-11.)
The top merchants in each category are determined by volume, and while they're loosely in order, it's not a precise ranking. If there's no data for a particular area or category, it's either because we don't have enough data points to draw meaningful conclusions, or because we're still cleaning up the data to figure out what it means. It will only get more rich and robust over time. If your favorite restaurant in your neighborhood isn't showing up, it's because we just haven't gotten to it yet.
Our team of statheads will continue to comb through the data and clean it up. Meanwhile, if you see something that doesn't feel right, send an email to email@example.com. (Yes, we're working on the whole "unknown merchant" problem.)