Run! The flood is coming – the flood of 7-Elevens, that is.
The oft-maligned chain store has plans to greatly expand in New York City — much to the chagrin of some small-business owners.
According to Margaret Chabris, the director of public relations at 7-Eleven Inc., the corporation plans for 30 new locations scheduled to open in the city in 2012, and plans to grow to 135 stores by 2017, she said.
“Our experience in New York City over the past several decades has shown that we contribute significantly to the neighborhoods we join,” she said. “That is why we have targeted growth here.”
But those who own and work at stores nearby would beg to differ.
The manager of Gramercy Corner, located next door to 7-Eleven on 3rd Avenue and East 20th Street, said that 7-Eleven has taken 40 percent of his convenient store’s business.
“7-Elevens are not made for New York because they are killing the small businesses that New Yorkers have always gone to,” said Amjad, 30, who declined to give his last name. “They are selling the same things that mom-and-pop stores sell, but people go to them because they're a big corporation."
The frustration doesn’t end in Gramercy.
Shailyn T. is a 21-year-old barista for Eastside Bakery, located next to the 7-Eleven on St. Mark’s Place. She said the building that houses the bakery has hosted several businesses before it, including a pizza parlor and a restaurant. But nothing ever survives.
“I have heard people say that it’s because of 7-Eleven,” she said. “People go there because their stuff is cheaper.”
7-Eleven has the soda advantage, too
As 7-Elevens take New York by storm, many may also be surprised to hear that 7-Eleven is also exempt from Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s extremely controversial soda ban proposal.
Bloomberg’s proposal would make it illegal for restaurants, delis, food carts, sports arenas and movie theaters in New York City to sell sodas or sweetened drinks that are bigger than 16 ounces.
Grocery and convenience stores are excluded from the proposed ban, and 7-Eleven counts as a deli.
That means 7-Eleven can keep hawking its infamous Big Gulps, weighing in at 30 ounces of sugary sweet soda for a regular and a whopping 50 ounces of soda in a Double Gulp.