A large presence in hip-hop star A$AP Ferg’s youth in New York City’s Hamilton Heights neighborhood was the unsung heroes of urban living: the bodegas, or corner stores. “Man, they’re hubs for the community,” Ferg tells Variety. “They’re an intersection between lawyers, garbagemen and students — people from all different facets of life. And when we didn’t have money as kids, they gave us store credit. I didn’t forget that.”

When the A$AP Mob member noticed the plight of independent corner stores due to the pandemic, he stepped into action by teaming up with Snapple to raise funds for the Bodega and Small Business Group. The organization helps support the mom-and-pop stores that are the heart of the city.

“So many of them have lost business during the quarantine,” Ferg notes. “Everything really plummeted. So why not provide a foundation of some type of funding for these businesses that always showed us love and support in the past? We have to take care of the people who took care of us.”

Merchandise including hats, T-shirts, hoodies and socks, with Ferg as creative director, is available for purchase to raise funds for the initiative. The partnership also yielded “A Snapple Corner Story,” a short documentary Ferg produced and directed. Now streaming, it’s a love letter to the versatility of the business and the passion of its customers.

“As a native New Yorker on the pulse of music and art, A$AP Ferg was the perfect creator to collaborate with on this initiative,” explains Katie Webb, Keurig Dr Pepper’s vice president of brand marketing. “It’s an authentic partnership that gives back to Snapple’s roots and highlights the enduring culture of New York City.”

Adds Ferg: “There’s nuances about a bodega you can’t find anywhere else, and that’s what makes New York super special. I actually want a chopped cheese right now.” asnapplecornerstory.com