Small shops already feeling the crunch from 7-Eleven

Villager graphic by Pasha Farmanara

Villager graphic by Pasha Farmanara

BY PASHA FARMANARA  |  A new 7-Eleven opened on E. 11th St. and Avenue A on Tues., Oct. 31, despite much opposition from East Village residents in the area. Fitting for the date, Halloween, the store’s appearance was the realization of many neighbors’ worst fears.

Opponents formed the No 7-Eleven campaign, and over the past year, rallied and fought to prevent the store from opening.

In their mission statement, the No 7-Eleven group says they are “taking a stand against the increasing flood of chain stores like 7-Eleven which threaten the free market, damage the local economy and whitewash the character of our communities.”

After the convenience store’s opening, the group held a boycott rally on Sun., Nov. 10, with a turnout of about 20 core supporters.

“We handed out fliers and spoke with people, the vast majority of whom are sympathetic [to our cause]. It’s like a big support group,” said Paul Parks, a leading member of No 7-Eleven. “Many New Yorkers suffer quietly from chain-store fatigue and are excited and heartened to see a group of citizens bringing attention to their concerns.”

Although 7-Eleven is a cheaper alternative to traditional mom-and-pop stores, the majority of local residents The Villager recently polled about the new store agreed with No 7-Eleven. They said they would rather preserve the small businesses in the area than save money.

“I think if it was a 24-hour deli that was run by somebody local, I would be much more appreciative. This neighborhood is more about local business, so I would like to see it taken away,” said Jeremy, an East Villager who only gave his first name.

Residents have noticed an influx of corporate-owned stores in their neighborhood, and despite their disapproval, are expecting to see this trend to continue. In fact, the 7-Eleven on E. 11th St. and Avenue A is the national chain’s fifth store in the surrounding area.

“It changes the ambiance of the East Village,” Brian Appell, a 13-year neighborhood resident, said of the E. 11th St. 7-Eleven. “Next there will be a Starbucks. Everything unique about the East Village is disappearing.”

The new store has already put pressure on small businesses in the area. Tompkins Finest Deli is one of the many businesses that are finding it hard to compete with the chain’s low prices.

“I don’t like it because they take my customers, my business,” the deli’s manager said of the new 7-Eleven. “They are selling everything for half of my prices — but if people want to do something, there is nothing we can do.”

Many feel incapable of stopping chain stores from opening in their neighborhood. Linda Anderson, a shopper at the new 7-Eleven, pointed out that the way to protest the establishment is to avoid it.

“I understand they are coming in everywhere,” she said. “Corporate America has taken over. People talk about how they miss old New York and its mom-and-pop shops. But customers have a choice, and the only way we can talk is with our pocketbooks.”

Currently, the No 7-Eleven coalition plans on growing their social media presence, and also intends to hold a community meeting to discuss the future of chains and franchises in the East Village.

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24 Responses to Small shops already feeling the crunch from 7-Eleven

  1. Are you seriously making the argument that higher prices are better? Instead of just polling those outside the store last Sunday, you might want to poll the store's customers: many of whom are low-income women with children.

    • Another thing 7-11 can afford is to pay people pretending to be objective observers to post comments praising 7-11s. By the way, shmnyc, the selection of your average old fashioned "bodega"–or "Korean Deli" style set-up–has a vastly superior selection than 7-11, as far as I can see 7-11 doesn't offer anything besides hot dogs and soda. For that reason alone, higher prices are justified.

  2. Shmnyc, where are you getting your facts? low-income folks live in that area? can't be many of them left, but maybe you know better. And 7-11 doesn't even sell wholesome food that children should be eating. I would have guessed that most of their clientel don't even live in the area – just visiting the bar scene and get the munchies.

    • Guest, I've been making a point of passing by there whenever I'm going in and out of the neighborhood, and I've been paying attention to who's in there. Yes, they live in the neighborhood. The strollers are an indication of that. Many of them are coming from the Boys Club on Avenue A and 10th, or one of the many schools in the area. Regarding the wholesomeness of the food, it's not a restaurant. No one goes in to order dinner. If you check the price chart above, you'll see why they go there.

  3. This article makes a great argument why the chains should be there. The local merchants have been ripping off the locals for decades.

  4. 7-Eleven doesn't even offer food, it's all food like products. If kids are getting their 3 square meals from a 7-Eleven that's tragic.

    • The same could be said of most of the bodegas.

    • Ally, Yes, if kids were getting their 3 square meals from a 7-Eleven, it would be tragic. But they're not, just as they didn't get their 3 square meals from a bodega previously.

      • The small groceries commonly referred to as "bodegas" actually provide enough groceries to cook 3 meals a day. let's face it, unless your from Kansas and have a nostalgic hankering for a frozen slush and a truck stopper 7-11's provide no valuable service that can't be gotten elsewhere. As a longtime E. Village resident I can only hope that my neighbors will get hip to this fact and not give 7-11 their business.

      • shillnyc,

        your the one that brought up single mothers and kids shopping at 7-11s. now your admitting its basically just a candy store (not the same as a bodega).

  5. shillnyc is nothing more than an aggravating troll who wants attention. He couldn't care less about 7-11 or bodegas, he only wants to rabblerouse which is why his comments are always low on fact and high on irritation.

  6. Food I can purchase at my bodega:

    A wide variety of fresh fruit
    A wide variety of fresh vegetables
    Vegan food to go
    Vegetarian food to go
    Dairy products like milk, yogurt, cheese, and butter
    Eggs, real and vegan alternatives
    Full spice selection
    Healthy cereal
    Snacks like cookies and crackers, both typical and premium
    Pasta, white, whole wheat and gluten free
    Pasta sauce ranging from Ragu to premium brands
    A wide variety of granolas
    Frozen food, both typical and healthy
    Fresh juices
    An entire aisle of household items such as paper products, cleaning products, etc.

    This is off the op of my head. When Met is closed before I get home from work, I can make a complete and healthy dinner from what’s available to me at my local bodega. Good luck doing that at a 7-Eleven.

    • Mmm Food!/Guest and ally… I guess moving forward it is easier to identify you (and the same 8 people who boycott on Sundays) as one group and we need to give your like-minds a name. So I anoint thee, "The Hystericals". And here is why… Junk food aside—because I know that the mission here has nothing to do with junk food—the fact I personally frequent bodegas if I need to get a post-happy hour junk fix or one of those Little Debbie peanut butter/chocolate wafer bars or take your pick of any one of the Hostess varieties (My personal fave is the sugar glaze encrusted blueberry pie(30 gm fat/some 400 calories). I call you The Hystericals because it seems to be really the only word to characterize the disparaging comments and personal attacks on other commenter’s and neighbors who disagree and offer an alternative opinion on why they believe the changes in the neighborhood are ultimately for the good. I guess it should be noted that personal attacks in the form of an anonymous profile usually happen when an argument is finally lost and interest has waned to the point where people just stop caring and a movement simply folds into itself and dies of a condition called “groupthink”. Dissenting opinions on this topic– which I generally believe are not just about 7-11 but the perceived dissolution of a neighborhood that once was—and the other types of comments I’ve read on boards and other local blogs seem to be responding to with hysterical cries of "trolls, scum, shills, corporate mouthpieces, yuppies, and suburban transplants". All with the condescending message of “How dare you suburbanites move into this neighborhood of privilege and bring your filthy Slurpees”. Newsflash to the Hystericals, It is these suburban-transplants and business-mind types that are saving your neighborhood from turning into the land of the Crusty Crabs. Newsflash… The EV is not the same and will not ever go back to the time it once was. The art has left the building people! They went to Brooklyn. We don’t have time to discuss the past that was and the people who are driving this nostalgic narrative…these are the same people who don’ t realize that a new zesty and members-only cultural movement (also a reason for some of these people to wake up in the morning) is not around the corner.

      Now you may talk amongst yourselves and continue with your disparagement of people who don’t agree with you. Nobody is listening to you anyways. I'm gonna go get a drink

      • "It is these suburban-transplants and business-mind types that are saving your neighborhood"

        Wow! Thanks, but that's just not true at all.
        The neighborhood never needed "saving" nor ever asked to be saved. Overly self-aggrandizing and condesending of you, don't ya think?
        And, no one is asking to go back to anything/anytime, but we do know a Strawman, or several, when we read it.
        And almost your entire rant is lacking in any facts or truth.
        But thanks for trying. yuck!

        • If the neighborhood does not require saving then why do places like the EV Grieve blogger already declare the hood already “dead”. Your decision to dismiss the comment as a rant confirms his “disparagement” point. Just stating that something isn’t true without countering specifics is just lame. Liar liar pants on fire reveals your morning pot use and also the dead end you have reached. Engage the points or don’t respond at all. It looks like you had a an electronic-tantrum over this bloomblas views. Aren’t these types of forums a place to discuss and submit and engage opinions–if so desired?

  7. Fact is that a landlord can get a steady high paying tenant by doing business with corporations like 7-11. I can't stand the place,but that's the reality of present day N.Y.

  8. Relax everyone. Mayor De Blasio will solve all these "problems" by bringing back more street crime… then the companies like 7-11 wont want to be here. Just give it time.

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