7-Eleven Day: Why Some D.C. Residents Don’t Care About Free Slurpee Day

The popular convenience store chain 7-Eleven is giving away free Slurpees in honor of its 88th birthday. That doesn’t matter to some D.C. residents though. They don’t even want to have a 7-Eleven in their fancy neighborhood.

Fourteenth Street NW is known for its upscale restaurants and luxury condominiums. Some of their upper class residents don’t care to have a 7-Eleven located at 2300 14th Street NW. They don’t even care to know if it’s going to be an upscale version of the classic 7-Eleven mart. Residents launched a petition asking 7-Eleven to open its store in another neighborhood.

The petition was created by Ezra Weinblatt. He explained to Tim Regan of the Borderstan D.C. blog, his reason for starting the petition.

“We’re hoping to get enough support behind the opposition to compel them and demonstrate that the neighborhood would rather have a more local bodega, clothier or anything else.”

Almost 200 residents signed the petition asking 7-Eleven to stay away from their neighborhood. The petition, found on Change.org, gives a lengthy reason as to why they don’t want the quick mart in their neck of the woods. According to the petition, the condo dwellers want their community to stay as a community. They don’t want any outsiders entering their close knit community.

“We are a community, we are a neighborhood, we are families and friends. We care about how our neighbors treat each other, how the streetscape is maintained and we care to improve our surroundings.

“We are happily satisfied with the neighborhood retail services today such as: Streets, Smucker Farms, Yes Organic, CVS and TraderJoes, yet we are very concerned about 7/11 entering our neighborhood. We believe that 7/11 will diminish and detract from our neighborhood, nor do we see it adding any value to our lives. We feel that, at best, 7/11 will just cannibalize existing businesses, assuming anyone was to patronize the establishment. Therefore, this location is not only unsatisfactory to the neighbors, but it is also a bad investment for 7/11. A bad investment for 7/11 is also a bad bet for the landlord jeopardizing their investment too. No one wins in this scenario.

“If you care about the future of our neighborhood and don’t want to see a 7/11, or worse, a failed 7/11 take up a prominent corner, then please object by endorsing this petition.”

It is more than preferring to have a clothing store next to his condo, he says. Weinblatt believes that 7-Eleven will bring the wrong kind of customers into his neighborhood. Weinblatt told Regan that him and his neighbors are “not impressed by the processed and sugary foods” often sold at 7-Eleven convenience stores and quick marts. One would argue that there’s a CVS nearby that sells the same packaged merchandise. Chain stores aren’t the problem in this fancy neighborhood. In fact, Dunkin’ Donuts and Subway stores are on the same stretch of the 14th street corridor.

According a previous article on The Washington Post, there’s a 7-Eleven located “at the intersection of 14th Street and Rhode Island NW. ” There are also 19 other locations within less than five miles of the new location, according to the 7-Eleven online store locator.

He still argued that having a 7-Eleven would hurt local businesses. He believes that the chain was created to “cannibalize existing businesses, assuming anyone was to patronize the establishment.”

“We’re interested in maintaining a unique character in the neighborhood … 7-Eleven has no soul, there’s nothing interesting about it. We don’t want to walk through this monotonous maze of corporate America.”

According to Kristin Capps, Weinblatt and his fellow condo owners don’t want a 7-Eleven next to their neighborhood because they don’t the mart to bring in a certain type of crowd. During his interview with Regan, Weinblatt also gave the real reason for not wanting a 7-Eleven.

“People hanging out at four in the morning on a street corner are not looking to pick up trash. They’re looking for trouble. We don’t want trouble.”

A spokesperson for the Dallas-based 7-Eleven confirmed that the store is scheduled to open in late September. Meanwhile, everyone else around the U.S. can celebrate 7-Eleven Day on Saturday, July 11 by having a free small Slurpee between the hours of 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. The popular chain is also giving away other freebies throughout the week.

[Image: Tim Boyle/Getty Images]