Wednesday, March 6, 2013

7-Eleven fallout: East Village groups propose resolution 'to restrict corporate formula stores'

There's a proposed resolution on the docket for tonight's CB3 Economic Development Committee meeting to restrict corporate formula stores in the neighborhood through a zoning amendment. The resolution comes from members of the No 7-Eleven group and the 11th Street A-B-C Block Association.

The groups are seeking CB3's support for the resolution.

The block association has held two meetings now (read recaps here ... and here) to discuss the incoming 7-Eleven on East 11th Street and Avenue A.

Per an invite from the last Black Association meeting:

7-Eleven is coming to Avenue A at 11th Street. The residents of 11th Street won't sit for it. We're drawing the line of suburbanization here.

We have had about enough of chain stores and suburban franchises, Duane Reades, Walgreens and Chase Banks on every corner. We've chosen to fight. Join with us and let's start a city-wide resistance. Let's not sit for it any more.

Below you'll find the resolution. (Find the PDF via the CB3 website here.)

[Click on image to enlarge]

The full Board meets on Feb. 19, 6:30 pm, PS 20, 166 Essex St.

Previously on EV Grieve:
[Updated] More from the anti-7-Eleven front on Avenue A and East 11th Street

Avenue A's anti-7-Eleven campaign now includes arsenal of 20,000 stickers

'No 7-Eleven' movement goes global with BBC report


Anonymous said...

Leave 7-11 alone. Who else in the neighborhood has LARGE frozen drinks for cheap? When mom and pop make frozen drinks then i'll join the protest.

Shawn said...

I've been very impressed with the No 7-Eleven group! Congrats on your resolution and CB3 would be crazy not to pass it.

Zoning changes, now!

Anonymous said...

Yea, I need my Slurpees man. No one else sells Slurpees.

Anonymous said...

This. Is. Bullshit!

What is this? Russia?

Who do these people think they are trying to control a free market?

Chain stores provide jobs, many with benefits. It is the threat of someone else coming in & doing your job better that has been improving American industry for years.

If you can't give people what they want, close up shop, & move on.

Kevin said...

7 Eleven and other chain stores do not improve neighborhoods, they destroy them. Corporate stores are able and willing to pay exorbitant rents, which increase rents all over forcing our friends and neighbors to have to close their places of business and leave us with stores that sell inferior products at higher prices, driving rents up even higher. How can anyone support these corporate places? If we are to protect the integrity of our Village, we must fight. If you must have a Slurpee, then head up to midtown, we'll be happy shopping at Ray's.

bowery boy said...

"...they are trying to control a free market..." -- the big chains do it all the time, so why can't the residential buyers? What's fair to the Supply side should be fair for the Demand side.

Is a 7-11 job really worth protecting? Come on. I'd rather work for a local small business any day of the week.

Anonymous said...

I'd rather go in a safe, clean, fair-priced 7-11 any day over a dirty, overpriced, expired food carrying bodega. If you don't like 7-11 or similar then don't patronize. Simple as that. I sincerely hope that CB3 does not waste their time with this idiocracy. A zoning amendment to prevent stores from opening? Protest something of real importance.

Anonymous said...

Anyone who has ever had a Slurpee can attest that they are flavorless crap. but then, the ice cream at the belgian waffles is flavorless crap too. This uproar at the monetization of the East Village has been afoot for 30 years. It will never end because there will always be a healthy serving of rent controlled know it alls who think they have dominion over all things East Village just because they got themselves on a list back in the 70s.

Anonymous said...

This seems a little more sane of a reaction to what's been transpiring around the "scandalous" 7-11 opening. Frankly, my thoughts kept running toward the hapless franchise manager who might have sunk his/her life savings - and dreams - into this store only to have the neighborhood rise up against them after the fact.

It's mean on so many levels to the people working there to ostracize them when it's a fait accompli. Reviewing potential new tenant in the neighborhood going forward is a much more sensible - and fairer- way of doing things.

Anonymous said...

Seriously? There is a far easier solution to this problem. If you don't want corporate retailers in your neighborhood, don't shop at them. If no one in the neighborhood shops in them they will go out of business and other chain retailers will stay away. Also, wtf does it matter if you have "xy" bodega in that location or 7/11 there? What's really going to change if that Chase Bank is replaced by "avenue a credit union?"

Bowery Boy, why is it that you would rather work at a local retailer instead of a 7/11? You'll likely be paid minimum wage for both, so it's not a money thing. Also the person who owns that 7/11 is probably just as local as the person who owns that bodega. Also, a 7/11 probably employs about the same number of people as a "local business" of the same size.

Kevin you speak about the "integrity" of the village. What is this integrity? Is it the local culture, character, and people who make it their home? Or is it simply a "look" or "vibe?" I'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you're speaking of the people. culture and character. If this 7/11 is so damaging to the neighborhood then the locals won't shop there right? A business, even a dunkin donuts or 7/11, cannot stay in business if locals don't patronize their business. It doesn't matter how many drunk or high people wandering around at night shop there. If the people living in the neighborhood don't shop there it won't stay in business. This is especially true of places like convenience stores. Every neighborhood has one.

So really what it comes down to is protecting the village from the invasiveness of corporate business to protect a "look" or "vibe." There's nothing wrong with this, no one wants to live in a neighborhood clogged up with Chase's and 7/11. If so I see no reason not to propose zoning rules limiting things like business hours, signage, locations. Whatever. But please, let's not make this about something it's not. The integrity of the village will be preserved far more if people would focus on preserving buildings and landmarks. And by preserving local business by shopping there. As someone who has spent as much time in the 'burbs as the city, I can tell you that a 7/11 is not going to change a neighborhood the way you think. A McDonald's? Yes. A GAP? Yes. But 7/11's go just as quickly as they come. And they don't harm any of the businesses they're not directly competing with. That small bar or restaurant you've been going to isn't going to be forced out because of high rents just because a 7/11 moved in. Nor is that florist, or used bookstore.

Anonymous said...

keep chains out of lower manhattan. period. I rue the day my city becomes strip malls and ubiquitous chain stores - just like the rest of America. A Homogenized, boring, mess.

glamma said...


F*CK 7-11
and most of all,


Anonymous said...

7-Eleven will attempt stay whether people shop there or not because they have the deep corporate pockets to float these needless stores.

And good luck to 7-Eleven finding a franchisee who wants this location. The opposition to it has been broadcast globally thanks to the BBC.

Ask the guy with the two 7-Eleven franchises how much money he spends in the community. You know, the one who lives in Jersey.

Shawn said...


The 7-Eleven E.V. Grieve social media guide!

1. Always post as Anonymous.

2. Always be attacking points + people. Never respond. Always attack.

3. Shift the conversation to the franchisee! Put a face on it.

"They're just like you"
"They're local"
"They are investing in the community"
"They create jobs"

4. Tell people if they don't like it, they don't have to shop there (they're not our market anyway)

5. Repeat, repeat, repeat.

Anonymous said...

I think CB3 will be sympathetic to the issue but the wording of the resolution may have some trouble passing. CB3 meetings are notoriously long. They are not going to want to have a meeting for every store that wants to open. The scope of store type needs to be refined. Would The Bean qualify as a chain store ? Mercadito ? How many stores would qualify as a chain ? That needs to be defined and then some sort of formula such as no more than 3 of the same chain stores in a 10 block radius - the numbers can then be debated. This way the City Council can pass a law that can go into effect. Do you really want to have CB3 regulate this as they essential do with liquor licenses - to which we all complain ? Hopefully something can be worked out and a statute approved at some point.

rob said...

Corporate stores are not locally owned or managed: the
owner of the 7-Eleven on St. Mark's lives in Jersey. Corporate
stores are like monopolies. If corporate stores are
everywhere, your free choice is limited. Duane Reade has
over 250 stores in NYC. Walgreens, which owns Duane
Reade and from which it is nearly indistinguishable,
owns about 120 stores in Manhattan alone. That's just today.
Look at the decades long trend in banks There used to be
dozens and dozens. Most have merged. When will you
wake up and recognize where the "free' market is going?
Stick your head in the sand if you like, but when you take
your head out, you'lll see nothing but corporate stores that
you don't really want to buy from and the stores you might
really want to buy from will be gone. Small stores cannot
compete with the corporate. You don't need to be a historian
to understand what's happening.

And do you think for one moment that when the corporate
stores have pervasive control and have garnered the labor
market, that labor will have leverage on them?

And don't you understand that corporate stores can
pay higher rents than individual stores because the
corporation can subsidise the rent until the competition
is gone?

DOn't you know that that's why commercial rents are
sky-high? Because of corporate stores.

Doesn't anyone think anymore? Is the only thought you
have "don't buy there -- it's a free market."
THINK just a little bit. Try to find a credit union, friend.
There's only one in
EV/LES and most people in EV/LES have walk a mile to get
there. Why is that? Chase is on every other corner. That's
why, you get it? People prefer banking with a credit
union, but they can't f**king find one.

shmnyc said...

Anonymous at 2:04 PM,

Just to clarify a couple of things: 7-Eleven employees make minimum wage, but many undocumented bodega employees make less than that. Also, 7-Eleven employs between 7 and 10 people -- bodegas employ up to 3.

The No 7-Eleven effort is intended to advance the "gated community" aspect of the East Village, despite their protestations to the contrary. Keeping 7-Eleven out will not cause rents to decline, so the stores that come in at the higher rent will be unaffordable for many, but not for the ones who oppose 7-Eleven.

Anonymous said...

Exsuburbinites want their familiar mileau. Beware, Times Square is spreading. Want a community with nothing but Target, Wendy's, CVS and 7-11? That's easy : You can find one anywhere, -- all over America.
Staney's coffee shop where are you???

J. Carey

shmnyc said...


The natural tendency of capital is to centralize and concentrate. Centralize between fewer industries, and concentrate within fewer companies in a particular industry. That's exactly how your "free market" works.

And workers have much greater leverage with a store like 7-Eleven than they will with any bodega.

Finally, rents are not high because of "corporate stores". They're high because of over-accumulation of capital on a global scale, and the dearth of productive investment.

Anonymous said...

Despite EVG's continued attempts to educate the pro-7-11 crowd, the "what about the franchisees" plea persists.

I do think Shawn is onto something. Most of these comments are too quick and coordinated to be random EV residents who just happen to be reading EVG today.

Also, free citizens partaking in a democratic system is party of the free market.

Anonymous said...


If rents are high because of an "over-accumulation of capital on a global scale", then why are only certain markets realizing real rent increases? Has over-accumulation of capital been an issue for the last 35 years (the amount of time the EV has seen persistent rent increases)? Or longer (the amount of time other areas of NYC have seen persistent rent increases).

Also, what is the proper level of accumulation of capital?

shmnyc said...

Anonymous at 5:42 PM

Very good questions!

Yes, this has been going on for the past 30+ years. It's referred to as the period of "neoliberalism". David Harvey's book "A Brief History of Neoliberalism" is a good place to start on this. And gentrification *is* a global phenomenon.

It's quite a coincidence that you ask why some neighborhoods and not others. I started a blog recently that deals with gentrification primarily (at least for the time being), and my next post on the subject was to include this question. Briefly, I'll say that it has to do with the level of devaluation an area has experienced. Increases in rent will not occur as rapidly or profoundly in areas that are already built-up as they will in areas that are not. But they do increase.

Over accumulation occurs when the money that has accumulated cannot be invested productively. They tendency is to reinvest in the existing company, then to grow, then to merge, etc. Eventually, however, your company will be operating at excess capacity, and investing the money into the business will not result in an increase in profits. You might try to invest in other industries, but they're all going through the same problem. This has been occurring globally since the 1970s, and has resulted in money being poured into currency speculation, art speculation, securitized debt, real estate, and each one has produced its own crisis.

Check out the site my name links to. I'm going to try to finish my current piece and expand on what I wrote above. I should have it up tomorrow.

B.C. said...

Wow – I am extremely disappointed to see that these types of ideas are being contemplated and proposed in this – our once-great city of human liberty and opportunity. It is misguided and unprincipled agitating like this (rooted as it is in a small minority’s parochial concerns or emotions of resentment) that is the REAL source of rising costs and diminished consumer choices in our city. It is axiomatic: if you restrict the supply of any product (including retail stores), you will get higher prices; so if it's really costs and supply options you're concerned with, then you would rightly let all that's well be left alone. But one suspects that's not the real motivation here. No less, as a real defender of Capitalism and someone who cares for Americans' individual rights (or what remain of our individual rights in a city that permits grievance-based restrictions as this to assume the force of law), I request that the individuals proposing this measure please do NOT invoke the free market when attempting to rationalize this proposal or when claiming it’s aim is to increase competition. This is naked government-enforced restrictions, quite simply. And we the free people of NYC reject such bad ideas and the gross violations of our liberties as this proposal represents, without qualification!

Mark Hand The Catchman said...

I remember a decade or so ago when Kmart was coming to Astor Plc. area.. the same cunty whiners put stickers with "Kmapart" and the protests where the same but guess what happened? the EV didn't really change... and today I see those same cunty whiners IN Kmart buying pampers for the 2.5 kids in their lives [ie: they grew up]
Now its just a new set of whiners and social media makes their whining not so much louder but just spread faster.

Anonymous said...


rob said...

shmnyc: Yes, that is exactly how "your 'free market'
works." It inclines always away from the "free" choice
in demand and away from the "free" proliferation of
supply. The words "the free market" hides that ambiguity
and glosses over the complexity of markets that those
mergers themselves create, so you find giant global
markets ranging over different kinds of capital,
different kinds of laws and regulations, different
kinds of market strategies.

The relation of local real estate to global accumulation
is a broad generalization that is appropriate to a
broad textbook analysis of borad neoliberal trends, not
to facts on the street where "the free market" of supply
and demand still holds. So you're mixing apples and
oranges: the broad trend holds where there are no
restrictions, but if the market is restricted, and the
supply curtailed, the rent demand will decline. This
is empirical: the landlord would have installed a bar
in the 11&A location, but the liquor licensing
prohibited it, so he settled for second best, a giant
corporate franchise. If corporate stores were restricted,
the landlord would have to seek the next best option.
Landlords have been holding out for the highest rents
responding to that global accumulation. The
goal in NO 7-Eleven is to rob the landlord of that connection
to that accumulative consolidation.

To say that 7-Eleven provides a better labor option
than local stores is to endorse the Walmartization of the
market. That's a rhetorical swipe, but consider the
consequences of Walmart. Leverage is far too limited.
There are labor challenges in the local free market,
there's no question about it, and the replacement of
corporate stores will not prevent gentrification. No
7-Eleven is not a panacea. But it will lower commercial
rents and encourage variety and competition which leads
to lower prices as well. By contrast, the giant
corporation, once it has strangled the competition --
and that is the strategy -- turns into a kind of
rent-taker, since there are no more options. Consider the
trajectory of mergers ten or fifteen years from now,
when nearly all low end stores are corporate and
all individual entrepreneurs are in the luxury economy.

No 7-Eleven is an anti-corporate campaign closer to
Occupy. The NO 7-Eleven goal of a zoning amendment is
neutral on gentrification, but it is rhetorical to
describe community say on land use as a "gated community"
effort, since Manhattan still relies on residential
renters. Gentrification has already succeeded in the
EV/LES, so I don't see what point you are making there
or what claims of NO 7-Eleven you are criticising.
But there are places outside Manhattan that haven't
been gentrified, and community say there might mean
welcoming 7-Eleven, just as there are communities in
the outer boroughs that welcome bars.

Finally, the number of employees has to be counted by
square foot. 7-Elevens are large, some of them quite large,
bodegas are small, often quite small.

rob said...

@ 5:42 -- Gentrification responds to local public policy
and to immigration pressures and policy. To look only
at neoliberal trends in capital is far too general.

For example, rent stabilization and control curb gentrification.
White flight will prevent it entirely. Immigration
(traditional low-iincome immigrantion) will prevent
it as long as the immigration continues.

On the other hand, zoning alone will not prevent
gentrification. However, upzoning can open the floodgates
of gentrification in a tight housing market like NYC
(but not Detroits). Look
at Williamsburg. It was very slowly gentrifying until the
rezoning, when it was suddenly transformed wholesale
in a matter of a few years.

So the broad corporate trends are mediated by a variety
of influences, and no one of them can account for all
changes in the urban landscape. That's hopeful: we can
deal with global capital at the local level, but many
of our current policies are misguided and antiquated.
On the other hand, we can't predict all the consequences of
any public policy. We can, however, look at historical
repetitions in larger trends, like the trend toward
monopolization, and recognize where the greatest danger of
losing control of the future. And that implies to me that
corporates have to be resisted, regulated or even broken up.

rob said...

B.C.: "Supply" is not "supplier." Although axioms are definitional,
not empirical, you are right, restricting supply invariably raises
prices (given constant demand). But restricting suppliers has
no such invariant function. So consider the consequence
of corporate expansion: it restricts suppliers. A
restrcition on corporate stores will encourage greater
variety of suppliers. Competition among suppliers is one
way to drive prices down.

Anonymous said...

1 Kmart is not equal to 100+ 7-Elevens.

Anonymous said...

I am so sick of the 99%ers and hippies constantly bashing free markets. If you can't afford Manhattan, get the hell out of Manhattan! Why should progress be stymied because you want things to be cheaper?

Guess what? If rents go up, so do property values! But you wouldn't care since you rent a stabilised apartment (another dated, ridiculous law that's still benefiting people that can't afford to live where they live).

I agree with the sane people above: chain stores are no different than bodegas except for the fact that they employ more people, are cleaner (inside & out), probably pay more in taxes, and offer cheaper prices for goods because they have economies of scale.

Don't get me wrong, I love my local bodega. But I also love my Duane Reade which is 1 block farther. Duane Reade has FAR more product that I'm interested in. So it provides a great service and great products to local residents. Why is that a problem?

Why do you all hate America?

Anonymous said...

Everyone who refers to New York as "my city" needs to be roundly slapped. You'll be dead in 50 years, no one will ever have heard of you.

Anonymous said...

Opposing 7-Elevens where they are not needed is now "hating America?" Really?!

shmnyc said...


I was going to respond to what you wrote to me and to Anonymous at 5:40pm, but reading through your comments I have to wonder, have you read anything at all on gentrification? I don't mean to be insulting, but some of the things you write ("White flight will prevent [gentrification] entirely. Immigration (traditional low-income immigration) will prevent it as long as the immigration continues.") makes me wonder.

rob said...

shmnyc: Argument ad hominem is always irrelevant and
often a sign of substance gone dry. I'm pretty sure that's not
your intent, so let's stick to substance. Argument from
authority is equally irrelevant and worse than empty since
authorities err. So let's not go there either. I welcome
further discussion, or we can shake hands and wait
for another day. Either way, I look forward to it.

One comment: white flight is not created by the same force
as redevelopment. Gentrification is opportunistic, but just
because it overcomes its obstacles or takes advantage of the
consequences of pauses or resistance in its course,
shouldn't mean that those obstacles, pauses or
resistance are themselves motivated by gentrification.
That's either way too Hegelian or way too conspiratorial.