7-Eleven Plotting Brooklyn Takeover


Brooklyn wouldn’t be Brooklyn if it weren’t for our small army of bodega owners who’ve set up camp on nearly every street corner. We rely on our local merchants for our cigarettes, the late-night drunk food we know we’ll regret a few hours later, the extra quarters we need to run the washing machines in our basements. Not to mention all the local gossip we pick up in our daily visits or just a familiar face handing us our change over the counter at the end of the day. But another business has its eye on this niche market—one that specializes in Slurpees and Taquitos and has been gradually colonizing its way across New York’s five boroughs.

7-Eleven, the Dallas-based chain of convenience stores recently named the ninth fastest growing franchise of 2012, plans to open 30 new outlets across the city over the next five years. What does this mean for Brooklyn residents? If you find yourself craving 3-for-$1 mini donuts or a Big Gulp fountain soda that can range from 20 to 64 ounces, you are in luck. If the thought of using your power of consumer choice to fill the corporate coffers of a franchise with 46,000 outlets worldwide makes your skin crawl, you might not be so thrilled.

In an effort to be more accommodating, 7-Eleven executives have rolled out a business conversion plan: rather than closing their doors permanently, existing bodegas can rebrand themselves as 7-Eleven stores.

The benefits of this tradeoff? Business owners can leverage 7-Eleven’s brand awareness, take advantage of their product line, and buying power. The disadvantages? Let’s turn to the East Village in Manhattan, where 7-Elevenification is already in full swing. With five new outlets opening in the past few years, some East Villagers fear their neighborhood is being homogenized by the iconic red-and-green corporate sign. No matter what Slurpee-brewing outlet they walk into, 7-Eleven aficionados know they will always find the same great flavors, the same Corn Dog Rollers and Big Bite Hotdogs.

What some call homogenization, though, 7-Eleven owners call streamlining. And besides, even though the rest of New York City is no longer allowed to sell large sugary drinks, 7-Eleven Inc. retains that right going into the indefinite future. Bring on the 64-ounce fountain drinks?

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  1. They cant even seem to get the one they have in sheepshead Bay re-opened! The little Mom and Pop places manage to do it with flash lights and good old fashion elbow grease- whats up 7-11?? I am so thankful for our small little locally owned stores around here- they care about us who live here and worked hard every day to re-open and make sure we all had what we needed just to get by- 7-11 never cared!

  2. Barclays and 7-Elevens. Brooklyn, don’t change too much. I won’t recognize you when I return.

    I’m afraid this is a bad idea. I have a unique perspective as a Brooklynite, temporarily in Chicago for work and where 7-Elevens are ubiquitous. If you’re hungry, you can’t find anything halfway decent or healthy in one. Mainly just items like Snickers, Doritos, etc. At least many bodegas throughout NY, even some in the Bronx offer some options like soy milk or organic eggs net to the junk. Here it’s no surprise that people struggle with weight-related issues and even worse in suburbia where people are morbidly obese and there’s always seems to be a 7-Eleven right around the corner. Not implying they are the sole contributor but they’ve really taken over and chains like these offer nothing but pure, quick junk – the whole point of a convenient store. It’s one thing to open a few here and there in Brooklyn. It’s another to take over existing businesses and homogenizing them.
    They’d be installing Big Gulp machines, too. As much as I’m conflicted about the “policing” of our drinks, in this instance all can say is “give it to ’em Bloomberg”. I wouldn’t have been as troubled as I know there will continue to be options in many areas all over Brooklyn but if the plan is to take over many bodegas and owners convert their into 7-Elevens, I can’t help but have a bad feeling about this. Being away, I’m seeing, first-hand, the effects of people’s lack of choices (different from “poor choices”). Also the diversity that bodegas bring to a community makes their existence important. I can get Tibetan and Indian spices in my old neighborhood Pakistani bodega. That won’t be the case with 7-Eleven, although I’m sure they’d adapt for the NY market, but they can only really supply big box brands which usually means processed crap.
    What can be done? If enough people are against it, wondering if maybe starting a MoveOn.org petiton would be the first step?

  3. 7-11 has the “right” to sell large soft drinks only because they are retail stores and so are not regulated by the NYC Department of Health. Same for bodegas; they could also sell 64-ounce sodas if they chose to. The “ban” is a city DOH regulation. In short, if a place does not have one of those DOH letter grade signs in the windows, they are exempt. It has nothing to do specifically with 7-11.

    Unfortunately media “outlets” like this promote the mistaken idea that there’s a “7-11 exemption” in the law. Without, of course, ever bothering to provide a reference to such a law.

  4. It really is amazing how some people think one store is “evil” and one is “good”. Don’t like the changes in Brooklyn – move. Things change and should change all the time. I remember when there were no bodegas in Brooklyn. Should I whine about that time or should I just realize that asking that my experience be saved forever is pointless and ridiculous.

  5. Here’s an idea for you transplants. You aren’t wanted or loved here. Go home stop the disenfranchisement of the local population. Stay in Bumbletown USA.

  6. Stop whining. They wouldn’t be expanding all over if people didn’t patronize them. It’s fair competition. Provide something better and people will go. To think that a dump bodega is so great is a laugh. Just like hookers and druggies in Times Square was awesome. Grow up.

  7. What a bunch of liberal jerks. What the hell is wrong with 7-11 ?. The reason they’re successful is because people choose to shop in them. Nobody shoves them down your throat. If you don’t choose them to shop in they won’t stay in business, and another person or chain or whatever will open there. Capitalism made this country great, liberalism will destroy it.


  9. Holy shit….I was held a gun point and forced to buy at 7-11. You people are dumb arseholes. No one forces you to buy their overpriced shit. Just walk down the block and buy someone elses overpriced shit. Pretty much the same garbage different packaging. Get a life.

  10. 7 eleven sucks the only good thing about them is its coffee and mcdonalds has them beat i never go their expensive and the person who owns the franchise is really a 50 50 partner at the end talk about corporate slavery

  11. I really dont think 7-11 is gonna work in the city. They’re too over priced and have nothing good to eat. At least in a deli/bodega you can get a fresh sandwich or hero, not the packaged 7-11 crap. I live on Long Island and 7-11 has been a fixture out here for as long as i’v been alive, but it works out here because they are the only thing open 24/7 besides a gas station. Thats not the case in the city. There are bodegas open all the time in the city. If I owned a local bodega out there I would think twice before becoming partners with 7-11. Its not because I dont want to become corporate its because I wouldnt want to lose my customers who have become accustomed to a fresh sandwich, hero, or breakfast.