7-Eleven, purveyor of Slurpees and The Big Gulp, has opened an outpost at 1235 Second Avenue, the heart of Manhattan’s Silk Stocking district.
The 2,300-square-foot store on East 65th Street is replacing restaurant Asia Grill. Ariel Schuster of Robert K. Futterman & Associates represented 7-Eleven. Madison Capital, the landlord of 1235 Second Avenue, was represented by Darrell Rubens and Annie Shinn, both of Winick Realty Group.
7-Eleven has been rapidly expanding throughout Manhattan. In a recent New York magazine piece, the convenience store wants to run bodegas out of business.
“It’s part of an overall growth strategy,” explains Sean Duffy, corporate’s senior vice-president of development. “We saw an opportunity in Manhattan—huge traffic counts, huge pedestrian traffic, [and] the need for convenience.”
7-Eleven is betting that time-starved New Yorkers will come to appreciate the convenience of its more-than-just-sandwiches spread of fresh food, which has, to 7-Eleven’s credit, expanded considerably from its stoner-pleasing roots.
While the company is still talented at making food cylindrical in a way God never intended, and Buffalo-ing things that competitors might never think to Buffalo, it has also introduced fruit and yogurt cups, salads, and other healthier items.
“If we went into Manhattan twenty years ago with our normal offerings, I don’t know if it would be as appealing,” says Duffy.
A company exec told the trade publication QSR (which stands for “quick-service restaurant”) in 2008 that 7-Eleven wanted its stores’ prepared-foods sections to start resembling those at high-end local grocers. “Nice wines, fresh-baked pizza—it’s not what you think of when you think of convenience stores,” one franchisee said. “But it is what they’re becoming.”
7-Eleven hopes to have 134 stores in Manhattan by 2017, according to New York. The Dallas-based chain has 6,000 stores throughout the United States.