NEW YORK -- 7-Eleven Inc. significantly expanded its New York City presence during 2012, but that hasn't discouraged a group of neighborhood activists from fighting plans to open an East Village 7-Eleven on Avenue A and 11th Street. On Jan. 16, more than 100 residents and members of the 11th Street A-B-C Block Association held a meeting at Father Heart church on East 11th Street to discuss ideas for halting the convenience store chain's advance, according to a Gothamist.com report.
The complaints focused on 7-Eleven's impact on the neighborhood's identity and aesthetics. Actions discussed at the meeting included raising public awareness about local bodegas, their owners and employees, along with their history and relationship with the community, and even legislation that would protect independent retailers.
Community activist and meeting organizer Rob Hollander told the news outlet his primary objection is potential homogenization of the neighborhood. He also noted that some bodega owners are not as concerned about 7-Eleven's arrival as the association members, though he believes the chain does pose a real threat.
However, 7-Eleven itself believes there is room for it to join the neighborhood.
"We see opportunity in many areas of Manhattan. Currently, this part of the East Village is underserved, and there are several neighboring outlets that have closed," Margaret Chabris, spokeswoman for 7-Eleven, told CSNews Online. "7-Eleven will provide attractive stores and bring new jobs, a franchise business opportunity and services to this part of town."
7-Eleven offers a business conversion program that allows bodega owners to convert their existing stores to the 7-Eleven brand, as CSNews Online previously reported. It now has more than 100 locations within the city.