Bodegas hesitate to fight 7-Eleven expansion

September 25, 2012 09:30AM

7-Eleven’s New York City expansion has rapidly accelerated over the past four years. But bodegas, the beloved local institutions most threatened by the Dallas-based chain’s expansion, have done little to push back against the trend.

The chain has grown by 72 percent in New York City since 2008, and now counts about 100 stores in the five boroughs — making it the city’s 15th largest chain, according to Center for an Urban Future data cited by the Wall Street Journal. 7-Eleven plans to open 30 new outlets over the next five years. And though nearby bodegas have claimed declining sales as a result of 7-Elevens, national organizations representing those businesses seem unconcerned.

The chain pitches bodega owners on the advantages of converting their business into a franchise — including business consultations, inventory tracking and availability of better data — and the Bodega Association of the U.S. said it doesn’t support local shops at the chain’s expense. Similarly, the National Bodega Federation said it was unconcerned with the trend because 7-Eleven doesn’t offer the local market products, such as specialty ethnic foods, that bodegas do. But the Journal noted that 7-Eleven is increasingly looking to diversify its inventory as it expands into the city, posing an even greater threat to bodegas. [WSJ]Adam Fusfeld