7-Eleven has been successfully drenching the city in Cherry Coke Slurpee syrup one soul-sucking block at a time, and it looks like independent bodega owners are starting to take notice. Today, the Wall Street Journal reports that small delis and bodegas located near one of 7-Eleven's 100 city outposts are seeing a slide in business, and owners fear they can't compete with the company's sleek, well-taquito stocked stores.
"They're gonna close me," Sedki Ali, who runs 374 Deli on Eighth Avenue near a new 7-Eleven, told the WSJ. Ali says he's seen a decline in business since the location opened last month. "I usually order cigarettes every week, now this is the third week I still have them, he said." And 7-Eleven's city stores seem to be moving beyond (still legal!) Big Gulps and hot-dog flavored potato chips and hitting neighborhood convenience stores right in the niche; according to the WSJ, a York Ave 7-Eleven sells organic cleaners for their eco-conscious clientele and a location on the deli-friendly Upper West Side is offering up kosher sandwiches.
Even the most beloved bodegas are taking a hit—the owner of East Village egg cream palace Gem Spa, who told us he wasn't worried about the then-impending St. Marks Place 7-Eleven back in April, now says they now need to ramp up their offerings to compete with the orange, green and red-striped giant. "We are trying to do different things," he said "We have to add. We are thinking of adding something. We don't know what to add." And 7-Eleven officials have been speaking to the Bodega Association of the United States about helping independent shop owners convert their stores into 7-Elevens, making New York's march towards becoming one massive mashed-potato-machine-wielding flourescent-bulbed strip mall seem all the more inevitable.