Thursday, January 17, 2013

Pushing Back 7-11

As the 7-11 convenience store chain continues its massive push, pressing forward with its clearly stated goal to consume New York City's bodegas with its "Business Conversion Plan," some East Villagers are taking action.

7-11 smashed on St. Mark's

Our friend Liberation reports the scene last night:

"There was a great turnout at the Father’s Heart Ministries to discuss the 7-11 coming to Avenue A and 11th Street. A really diverse crowd of 50 or so people showed up, all of them sick of the chain stores consuming the neighborhood and wanting to do their part to protect the local businesses with roots in the community. The meeting served as a jumping off point to brainstorm ideas and get more people involved. Because the group was diverse so are the skills they bring to table.

In the next few weeks people can expect a new website for the project and action steps people in the community can take to push back against 7-11 and, in the long term, possibly other chain stores looking to set up shop in the East Village. Reporters from the Times, Crains and DNAinfo were all there, so expect articles on the meeting in the next day or so. The general consensus was that people tolerated Starbucks, they tolerated Subway, but a 7-11 in the East Village is the last straw."

Read More:
7-11 Zombification
Chain Stores in the City
7-11 Strikes Again
& Please shop at Gem Spa instead--it's got gravitas


thegaycurmudgeon said...

Attica! Attica!
No, but seriously, it seems these commercial landlords have shot themselves in the foot, as witnessed by the large number of empty, graffitied storefronts on Second Avenue.
This is the other result of unchecked capitalism: an ugly, dirtier and possibly more dangerous (since the storefronts are unoccupied) neighborhood.

Anonymous said...

As a 25-year resident of the neighborhood I've watched it morph from a eclectic, artistic, sometimes scary and always fascinating experience to its present safe, sane, family/kid-friendly, clean and NYU-approved lump of artisan oatmeal. A 7-11 fits right into the homogenized, boring new East Village. Alas, I don't anymore.

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:11

I hear you. I've lived in the 'hood for 20 years. Time to leave. It's a sad state of de-evolution for sure. These people have no idea what the neighborhood is/was realy about, nor do they care. When I moved to the EV it was because of what it was, not what it was turning into (although at that time it was getting a tad safer). There used to be several reasons to stay, now there's few.

Dave - Everywhere said...

Let me play devil's advocate for a moment -

The sign in the article says "7-11 franchises....." so if the franchise owner is a local resident, maybe a bodega owner that wants to be a tad more upscale - does that meet the sniff test? Discussion, please.

shmnyc said...

Anonymous, I think that's a good strategy. You should posit this fight as being against a kid-friendly neighborhood. I'm serious.

laura said...

dave 3:20pm- run this by me again. 7/11 a tad "more UPSCALE" ?? huh? the bodegas have 1000 x's more class than that ugly tacky obese stinky plastic mainstream mongoloid.......yes im talking about the 7/11. lets hope the bodegas wont go for this!! thats my discussion, & yes it could happen. the banks would give the loans.

Anonymous said...

The bigger issue is: Why did whoever designed that poster shown at the top of this post place a comma after the word franchise?

Andre L. said...

@Dave: I agree with you. Franchisers can help franchisees to adopt modern business practices, such as a non-asinine automated supply system (that fires replacement stock orders just by counting products scanned on the cashier, and predicting consumption of certain items based on sophisticated mathematical models that mix demographics, income, weather and predict which items will be more in demand so costumers don't find them missing).

In many cases, a franchise is a good option for a business owner that needs to improve its practices and modernize, but can't ever think of affording the infrastructure and business processes needed to make it happen.

Brendan said...

The answer, then, is to find ways to help businesses get the benefits that 7-11 offers while remaining independent.

laura said...

brendan is correct. but i would think w/a small store, the owner can "see" what he needs? its kind of ovious, that when the shelve is almost bare its time to re order. or when toilet paper is 1/2 gone reorder. or if the diet coke sits there, then order more regular coke. have more bottled water in summer, small sizes. (ask me, im better). this is not a corporation. (which btw, they are useless in figuring out what customers need). why make it so complex? i really hate a machine telling me about demographics. a small business owner instinctivly knows what is going on. the idea is to keep it personal. these bodegas are not "mega stores"

Andre L. said...

@Brendan: it is easier said than done. 7-11 franchises are attractive to potential franchisees because they charge relatively low royalties and they offer an easy solution to one of the biggest headaches: buying merchandise at competitive prices.

Back in the day, suppliers of food and other goods sold on bodegas had a lot more market power and they sold merchandise at not much different prices between supermarkets and smaller stores.

Now, however, entities like WAl Mart, Target and, yes, 7-11 yield enormous pricing power over suppliers (which also got much bigger). So a small bodega is not a relevant market for most companies like Kraft Food or Procter and Gamble that manufacture the stuff they sell on stores.

By affiliating themselves with 7-11, ex-bodegas can take advantage of better pricing deals for supplies, which gives them a pricing edge over a normal ordering process.

laura said...

brendan, then the owner has to spend his whole day in a revolting envirement. you are thinking spread sheets, i am thinking quality of life. yes the big chains can buy the supplies cheaper, but its a trade off.

laura said...

sorry the post was addressed to andre L, not brendan!

vzabuser said...

I get a cookie there sometimes, the cookies are made in Bohemia NY buy the Glen Wayne Bakery (there since 1980). Their fast food smells bad and the slurpees are disgusting.

Jill said...

It s my understanding that most of these franchises in ny are not owned by individuals, but by investment groups.

laura said...

yes, mostly investment groups. (but i think an indivual can have one too)? to add to the 7/11 drama: there is one every few blocks here. BUT between these are similar chain stores, as ugly & selling the same things (loud garish colors & open all night). definitly the NWO in place. (new world order). since this is world wide, & started in small town USA, it may be too difficult to stop. please dont call it "gentrification", as 7/11's & similar are downwardly mobile. check our demographic. yes they are also in middle class areas. (middle class is not a same as 50yrs ago). i wonder is 7/11 in upperclass enclaves? (i dont mean on a highway). middle of town? on the edge? a stinky florestant lit store is no gentrfication.

Anonymous said...

And Mr Potter really wanted to help the people of Bedford Falls...

Super Size Me said...

Owning a 7-Eleven franchise sounds wonderful! Read what these happy owners have to say!

"To make money I used to work 72 hrs because I had invested so much money. In return I had I had no family life. My wife and kids starting hating me. I was nearly divorced.

No Franchisee will tell you this thing 'cause no one want to lose their money from 7Eleven. At the end I sold the business. This depicts most of the 7Eleven owners story. Secondly I had all my money invested but if U got 50-60% loan you have to pay around 30-35K installment/yr so you're left with nothing."

Says another 7-Eleven franchise owner:

"I have been a 7-eleven Franchisee for the past 2 years. This is a like a MAFIA operation, please DO NOT fall for them. They mistreat their franchisees on different levels, neither good accounting infrastructure nor maintenance infrastructure.

They make various promises as you are signing up for their franchise but the ones who make the promise disappear or make a 360-degree turn on their commitment. Old stores and equipment which keep on breaking and expect you to get fixed and pay and on top of it have the audacity to ask and force you through their different cheap legal business tactics to keep shining their almost dead equipment around the store such as old hot dog grills, sandwich case, bathrooms, floor tiles etc.

They keep finding ways to charge franchisees for various things with erroneous charges. On their mistaken charges it takes months and years to get your money back, their accounting ways and gross profit sharing is completely controlled by them MAFIA like. They have an on off button as to how much money you should make and keep slogging yourself like a modern day slave for their profits with no empathy of ones commitment to their family."

Now for some fun facts!

5 Things you HAVE to know before buying a 7-Eleven!

1. 7-Eleven will take AT LEAST 52% of your profits.

The company advertises that they take 50% of your profits, but read closely ... depending on your sales and profits around 2% of your profits will go towards advertising! (Have you seen a lot of commercials on TV? Neither have any of the 7-eleven franchisees )

2. 7-Eleven Franchise Agreement can change at any time

Just because your contract says it's good for 15 years, when the next agreement comes, it will be pushed on you hard, sign it or go on the blackballed list (kind of thing). Also, even if you don't sign it, when you sell your store, the incoming franchisee has to sign it which could easily decrease the value of your store.

3. Buying a 7-Eleven = Buying yourself a job

Don't have any misconceptions, you're not going to be a business owner, you're going to be a manager who is told how to run his store, what he can and can not do and like I said in point #2, the rules of the game can change at any time.

4. 7-Eleven's are almost impossible to run hands off

For those of you who think they can buy a store, hire a manager and forget it ... those days are long gone. The company has put in place strict requirements for you to be present at your store. They do this through a combination of twice weekly meetings with you field consultant, and by having a technologically cumbersome ordering system. Though it's "state of the art" it requires roughly 15 man-hours a week for the experience order writer.

5. 7-Elevens have an income CEILING

This is not a business you want to go into if you are dreaming of making MILLIONS. It is very possible to estimate your exact income from a 7-eleven, as a rough guide you can use 5% of sales. This however is not a perfect measure because as sales go up so do expenses, and as sales go down, so do expenses... It is very possible that a Franchisee owning a $1.3 mil store to make the same as a $1.7 mil store which is something they don't tell you this during your interview. (August 2008)

Think twice before Super Sizing!

laura said...

supersizeme: yes, 7/11 is disgusting from the inside out. thankyou for posting some real stats. having a little bodega is better in everyway, quality if life for the owner & neigborhood. its the american way to create your envirement, make your own hours, leave when you want, hire who you want (no affirmative action govt interference-hello!!!), decorate how you want, discount when you choose. (i believe this WAS once america)? let the investments groups buy these places, they have nothing to lose. corporations are legal scams, trying to close down small businesses, then trying to get the owner to be a bottom feeder slave for the corp. B S!! in 3rd world countries (to be pc: "developing nations") they burn down farmers land, seize the house, (public domain) then offer them employment in 7/11, walmart. they call it "job creation" neighborhoods are ruined everywhere. this is way beyound bloomberg.

Uncle Waltie said...

The 7-11 on First Avenue between Coal Yard and McD's is always empty, and it's a pretty big space. So whomever is running that franchise must have seriously deep pockets.

laura said...

uncle waltie, they may do a tax write off. when the "GAP" went bankrupt (or was losing millions), i read that they were worth several billion, were part of pillsbury or some other mammoth group. (i dont fnd the gap that offensive, next to this. just an example). so much of this is pushing $$ around. dont go to these repulsive places. they smell, its creepy in there, they are evil.let them do their write off. then maybe they will just shut down.

Anonymous said...

The No 7-Eleven group is on Twitter.

laura said...

the only way to stop them is not go in. but if you are outnumbered, then you lose. i dont know how much a district leader can do. (??) maybe make them find another location. (??) or maybe pass a bill that some NY streets must be "chain/boxstore free" ??? the last suggestion may work as a compromise.

Andre L. said...

@laura: there shouldn't be any regulations. Let the market solve that itself. We don't need bureaucrats telling people where to shop.

The fact is: is those "generations-old" bodega owners had bothered signing a mortgage and buying their stores, they would not face "unfair rent increases".

I'm not defending 7-11 or who else, I just think what makes or break a business is its clientele, some businesses that were viable in 1980 are just no longer viable in 2012 and that is called life.

glamma said...

These wonderful anti-7-11 people should introduce themselves to every bodega owner in the east vil anad get their names and addresses added to their mailing list to REALLY organize the troops!

laura said...

andre L, its not a matter of telling people "where to shop" (regulations) it is about preserving choice. if some blocks are chain/box store free, thats one option. (@ one time, big chains WERE only on certain avenue blocks). some streets can have all the 7/11's they want, now we are balanced. corps dont care about the "market"- if 7/11's become empty storefronts, then they sit there, its a write off. then they open another similar repulsive place. (i see this all the time). dont blame the bodega owners for not signing morgages. it may have been difficult to purchase property, & maybe loans werent that available. maybe now, if they move to queens etc, they can afford a down payment. these kinds of loan OPs come & go, its political.

Andre L. said...

@laura: options are only viable if there is a customer base

To use an analogy I've written about before: I bet men's hat stores or horseshoe-related business were big hits on Manhattan at some point on mid-19th Century. But - fortunately! - there aren't horse carriages anymore, spitting all manure and smell they did when horse jams were the norm. Life changes.

I bet one or two nostalgic people long for the lost "character" that hat stores brought and their hole as a space of socialization.

Many of the business that are dying don't have a viable plan and have seeing a dwindling customer base. Even if rents hadn't increase, changes on people's lifestyles would, alone, put out of business many of them.

Most barbershops would disappear for the simple reason people whose facial hair started growing in the 1980s and after overwhelmingly use electric/personal shavers - to keep a simple example. At the same time, the stigma associated with men going to more elaborated beauty saloons disappeared almost entirely. So the market for male barbershops was crushed by lifestyle changes.

Many, though not all, restaurants listed on this blog's disappeared list look unkempt places with outdated furniture and decor that have outlived its trend.

Then, you have the issue of nightlife trends that are ever changing. Since homosexual people are less discriminated now, particular those who are "straight acting" as they say, the market for gay bars or gay restaurants have shrunk because they can just patronize a regular non-label establishment.

Then, you have the bodegas: many of them have rudimentary systems of introducing new products, awful decor and rusty shelves. They don't open 24/7 and we are living in a 23/7 work: I want it all, now, and in a hurry. So new times, new changes.


This isn't a case about any market solving itself. It's about the Texas-based 7-Eleven chain wanting to dominate existing NYC bodegas.

We posted this on the No 7-Eleven Facebook page today:

"7-Eleven spokesperson, Margaret Chabris, is quoted as saying "Currently, this part of the East Village is underserved... 7-Eleven will provide attractive stores and bring new jobs, a franchise business opportunity and services to this part of town."

This corporate issued statement is untrue. Someone should let Margaret Chabris know there is already an existing bodega one block north of the incoming Avenue A / 11th Street 7-Eleven, as well as an existing bodega one block south. There is no need or demand for a 7-Eleven at this location."

A new article in the Observer has an ominous quote from Ken Barnes, Senior Director of Northeast Regional Development for 7-Eleven. “We can’t open more New York locations fast enough,” Mr. Barnes said. “Every neighborhood is a target.”


"Since homosexual people are less discriminated now, particular those who are "straight acting" as they say, the market for gay bars or gay restaurants have shrunk because they can just patronize a regular non-label establishment."

I have to stop you here. Because society is more accepting of gay people doesn't mean there is less of a market for gay bars. I'm all for my local bars like Odessa and Josies but I'm at home at The Boiler Room. Please don't speak for us... homosexuals, as you put it.

laura said...

andre L, i understand your points. but gross ugly chain stores are NOT the only answer to bodegas. & yes i do agree that not all old restaurants have to stay open. the comparism to "hats" & "barbers" is not really a good one. as we will ALWAYS need small grocers, maybe w/coffee to go, etc. (maybe less gay bars). i am also sure a bodega would stay open if there WAS a fair amount of business @ 4am. (maybe truck drivers or night shift people in some locations would have some business, but in general 4- 5am is not a popular time). i still dont get how "7/11" is catering to the changing market of societies needs.... the decor (re read my other comments) is so insitutional, so depressing, so scarey in a way, almost degenerate, like walmarts. but maybe society is getting used to an institutional plastic impersonal life? i always considered the florestent world a lower class one, far from the nice middle class comforting world i grew up in.

laura said...

nortorious liberation, maybe "J" can do a post on the closing of gay bars? (not one or two but trace this for say 10 years)? my gay friend in boston said the bars are now so mixed that he is in gay bars less than before. younger straight people in cosmopolitan areas are very accepting of gays, & not only artist types.

laura said...

(more 7/11): btw andre L, there is a post on EVgrieve about 7/11s, lots of comments. seems that one 7/11 is busy, & the bodega (near by) lost 25% of their business. but other 7/11s are empty! nada, but they still stand. they plan to go from 30 stores to 100 in manhattan. a % of these will be empty, based upon all the comments in have read. SO, this is not so much about catering to societies "changing needs". this is about big corporate write offs. also there is nothing a 7/11 can offer that a small grocer can not! (its not the same as unisex salons over riding barbers shops. cigarettes are cigarettes, a coke is coke). lets see how many 7/11's become tax write offs. after all maybe way down the road they will do chapter 11. (i do have to say, i have seen worse logos).

Alex said...

I am glad to see 7-Elevens coming into NYC. They offer far better assortment of products that the bodegas do and some of the prices are way lower than bodegas. $1.00 slice [tiny] of pizza is always a great snack on the go. I wish that they would open a location somewhere near me.

Anonymous said...

7-eleven is neither good for consumer or for business owner. They charge so much their franchisee so they are forced to price hike on grocery snacks and drinks. Its a trick to keep few things attractive to make double on others.