Originally published April 4, 2012 in The Commonwealth Times
Students will soon have more choices than ever when it comes to convenience-store shopping when a new 7-Eleven opens on Broad Street. But a new store opening in the area brings some problems to local store owners.
Goshen Market owner Tony, who requested his last name not be printed due to pending lawsuits, is worried about the impact the incorporated store will have on his own customers.
Goshen Market has been open since October 2010 at the corner of Goshen and Broad streets. Tony, who has owned convenience stores since 1993, doesn’t plan on closing Goshen Market any time soon.
After his first store in Henrico, Crestview Food Store, closed, Tony moved to downtown Richmond for a change of pace.
But with the opening of the new 7-Eleven only paces away from Tony’s store, he’s worried he may not be able to stay in business.
“I don’t want the 7-Eleven there at all,” Tony said. “The small business is the backbone of the nation,” he said. “I work 120 hours a week, as well as my wife … just to make a living, to keep food on the table, roof over (our) head to make a family at the same time,” he said. “We work hard to keep up.”
Tony’s success relies heavily on loyal customers, who still choose to shop at the Goshen Market despite numerous other options. The new 7-Eleven, he thinks, will make that choice even harder.
Student Annie Greene, a loyal Goshen Market customer who has created a Facebook page in support of the protest, is planning a boycott of the new 7-Eleven.
When she found out about the new 7-Eleven being built so near to Goshen Market, Greene decided to do something.
“I kind of realized that it will actually make a bigger impact than I thought,” said Greene. “It was kind of a little obvious that they had placed it in that location in order to compete with (Goshen Market) because they do have a little bit of higher prices because they’re an independent business,” she said. “They obviously know that they can get more customers.”
Greene created the Facebook page event “Boycott the New 7-11 on Broad St., Keep Goshen Market in Business!” to bring awareness to the effect the new 7-Eleven may have on one of her favorite businesses.
“I kind of wanted to bring the other side of it, with more of the ethics of it,” she said. “You know you’ll save money, but at the end of the day, if you shop at (Goshen Market) you’re helping this particular family and you’re … helping to support an independent business which I think is more important than saving a dollar,” Greene said.
Within 48 hours of creating the event, more than 700 people joined the group.
Greene said she hopes the people involved, especially on the Facebook page, will shop more cautiously.
“They’ll have the decision to go to one place or the other and maybe they’ll go to (Goshen Market). … that much more support would over time eventually help them and keep them in business,” she said.
The new 7-Eleven is available for franchise, and does not currently have a franchisee but will be staffed by 7-Eleven, Inc. employees until one emerges.
The store is being built on Broad Street to be a “convenient destination for college students of VCU,” 7-Eleven representative Margaret Chabris said.