Is Avondale Ready For A 7-Eleven?

July 25, 2011 242 comments Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article

A new 7-Eleven store opens for business somewhere in the world approximately every six and a half hours. One may soon be headed to Jacksonville's Shoppes of Avondale.

7-Eleven's Interest In Avondale

7-Eleven is considering opening its first Jacksonville location on this high-profile site in the heart of the Shoppes of Avondale.

Folks have been buzzing about a rumor that representatives of 7-Eleven are showing interest in the former Shell station in The Shoppes of Avondale; the site is across from The Brick, and next door to 'town. We'd like to provide some information and solicit your opinions. (You can also check out the debate over on Arbus's Facebook page.)
It is true that both local officials and RAP have been contacted by representatives of the convenience store chain to determine the feasibility of putting a 7-Eleven on this site. The zoning on this parcel of land permits this type of use, and the chain has done feasibility studies to determine whether a store set in this general area would be successful. They believe it would be, but are interested in whether the community would "accept" a convenience store in what is generally considered to be an upscale shopping corridor.
It should be noted that several developers, each with different plans, have shown interest in acquiring this site over the years, but nothing has come to fruition. The site is privately owned.
What do you think about the possibility of 7-Eleven at the Avondale Shoppes?  Would you welcome a convenience store if it were "done right?" Would you want the developers to consider a less prominent site? Should convenience trump aesthetics in this difficult economy? Or are you hoping the site's owner will "hold out" for a different type of establishment here?

Examples of Context-Sensitive 7-Eleven Outlets

A 7-Eleven store designed by the Fiedler Group of Los Angeles. Image courtesy of the Fiedler Group.

This 7-Eleven in Stockholm Sweden features outdoor, cafe-style seating.  Image courtesty of

This Washington, DC 7-Eleven was designed to occupy ground floor space within a historic building in a manner that fits with the surrounding context.  Image courtesy of

A former 7-Eleven in Boston's historic Beacon Hill neighborhood.  The store operated as 7-Eleven for two decades before being purchased and converted into an independently run store named Charles Street Market earlier this year.  Image courtesy of Linear Retail Properties LLC.

This 7-Eleven occupies one of the street level retail locations in this 100 year old building in the Printers Row district of Chicago.

This Chicago 7-Eleven occupies a retail space within a new dorm building shared by Roosevelt, DePaul, and Columbia Universities.

7-Eleven: The math behind the bright lights

How many stores?

There are 269 in Colorado, 6,732 in the U.S., 32,000 in other countries, from Japan to Australia to Mexico.

What does that equal in Slurpees?

Almost 13 million each month. In doughnuts: 60 million a year. In milk? 41 million gallons annually.

How easy do they make it?

Approximately 25 percent of this country's population lives within a mile of a 7-Eleven.

What about innovation?

7-Eleven was the first convenience chain to operate 24 hours a day and sell fresh-brewed coffee in to-go cups. The company adds another store to its worldwide operations every 6 1/2 hours.

How can I get one?

There are four kinds of 7-Eleven operations, each works under a different standard agreement:

1. Standard franchises (about 4,600 currently, though conversions are underway)

2. Company-operated stores

3. Convenience stores that converted to 7-Elevens

4. Area licenses, which allow owners to operate a number of stores within a geographical area.

Startup costs for new locations:

About $231,000 for a fully stocked store, but the average new franchisee puts up $189,000 with the rest company-financed.
Source: 7-Eleven Inc.

Moving Forward

There should not be a question of whether a 7-Eleven can be successfully integrated into the Shoppes of Avondale and the neighborhood or not.  In this country and all over the world, the chain has not only proven that it can survive in a community like Riverside/Avondale, it has also demonstrated that it can be seamlessly integrated with the surrounding neighborhood context and an asset to the environment around it.  Perhaps the best option going forward involves working with the company for the creation of a final project that significantly improves this high-profile location, as opposed to potentially undermining the redevelopment of the commercial strip's last remaining blighted property.

Article by Ennis Davis.