Protesters rally against 7-Eleven in East Village

Credit: Maja Lundager
Protesters rally against a forthcoming 7-Eleven in the East Village.
Credit: Maja Lundager Pedersen

Hoping to ignite city opposition with another protest, a grassroots campaign once again rallied against a forthcoming 7-Eleven in the East Village on Sunday.

Shouting “7-Eleven sucks — built on corporate megabucks,” a handful of protesters argued that a branch of the convenience store on 11th Street and Avenue A, which will open in a couple of months, serves no purpose in the community.

“It’s a historical place with a special spirit that we want to preserve,” said Ingrid Kelleman, 44, one of the group’s organizers and a resident of the area.

The rally was part of several organized by the coalition since November. Protesters worry that 7-Eleven, which last year announced plans to open more than 100 more locations in Manhattan, will destroy small businesses.

“If we keep having these chains in, all the beauty of local community is going to be undermined,” said Sarah Timmons, 23, who worries that 7-Eleven will spread to her Central Harlem neighborhood.

Bowery Poetry Club founder Bob Holman protests the opening of a 7-Eleven on Avenue A in the East Village.  Credit: Maja Lundager Pedersen
Bowery Poetry Club founder Bob Holman protests the opening of a 7-Eleven on Avenue A in the East Village.
Credit: Maja Lundager Pedersen

Calling a 7-Eleven on the Bowery his “tipping point,” Bowery Poetry Club founder Bob Holman said the city should require special permission from the community for chains like 7-Eleven to open.

“Here’s someone that’s gonna be able to take advantage over not only the corporate buying power but the rules of the government that favors corporations over individuals,” said Holman, 65, holding a sign that read “Slurpee! Blurpee! 7-11 is Jerky!”

A spokeswoman for 7-Eleven said the chain wants to offer the community a convenient and dependable place to get cheap products.

Still, protesters think local businesses better serve the community, both during emergencies like Superstorm Sandy and morning coffee runs.

“We have bodegas for that,” Kelleman said, gesturing around her. “So what’s the purpose?”

Follow Anna Sanders on Twitter: @AnnaESanders


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