Margaret Chabris, spokeswoman for 7-Eleven, got back to me from Dallas (not way back east, as I had thought from the unfamiliar area code) and confirmed that Port Orchard will be getting not one but two new 7-Eleven stores.
As Port Orchard Mayor Lary Coppola and Bay Street property owner Vic Vlist have said, one will go into the former Geiger’s Pharmacy building at 567 Bay St. in downtown Port Orchard. The other, a ground up project, will be at 1800 Mile Hill Drive, said Chabris.
“7-Eleven hasn’t opened very many stores in the Pacific Northwest in years, so this is kind of a big deal for us,” Chabris said.
Counting the current store at the corner of Jackson and Lund, that will give Port Orchard three 7-Elevens, putting us one up on Bremerton, with one at Sixth and Park, and one on Wheaton Way.
As for the idea put forth by the mayor and Vlist that the downtown Sev will be something new and upscale, well, maybe not entirely. The company will be repainting the building, adding a new glass storefront and resealing the parking lot. But Chabris could not confirm anything about a “new concept” 7-Eleven.
Over the years, the company has introduced products like Cafe Select and Cafe Cooler coffee drinks, and it does have deli products, including, in some locations panini sandwiches.
Got a thirst for a Slurpee or a Big Gulp? “Come on down!’ as the mayor would say – it’s how he calls on people who want to address the city council, deftly melding government process and “The Price is Right.”
The store will feature the familiar Big Bite hot dogs and other grilled food (presumably on those roller thingies). They also will bring in fresh food and bakery items delivered daily, along with groceries, dairy products, frozen foods and convenience items, Chabris said.
Randy Miller, owner of Marina Mart, across from the Port Orchard boat ramp, is understandably none too keen on the news that 7-Eleven will be moving into the neighborhood.
“I guess any competition we’re not particularly happy about,” said Miller, who with his wife Hye Chong took over the store last year. “There’s not a lot you can do about it. I doubt this area would support two (stores) just for the volume of traffic. I don’t know. We’ll see how it works out.”
Miller said he’ll probably make “adjustments” to his inventory to stay neck and neck with 7-Eleven, but he can’t predict what they’ll be. His store’s long suit is “variety,” he said, and “longevity.”
According to Miller, Marina Mart has been a convenience store at the same location, 528 Bay St., for at least 20 years.
Coppola has said the downtown area needs a grocery store to meet the needs of residents and boaters at Port Orchard Marina. Chabris said 7-Eleven tries hard to cater to what the local clientele wants. She, being in Dallas, couldn’t say exactly how the store will assess what locals need or want.
I’m thinking is up to citizens to sing out. What wares would you like to see in a downtown grocery?
Here are some other things you need to know to be up on 7-Eleven lore.
* The company has acquired stores by recruiting “mom ‘n pop” convenience stores and converting them to 7-Elevens. The company also has acquired smaller convenience store chains such as the White Hen Pantry in the Chicago and Boston Areas.
* The iconic Slurpee, introduced in 1966, has undergone many transformations, including a sugar-free version, Full Throttle Fury Energy Slurpee and a Super Big Gulp at a whopping 44 fluid ounces.
* In 2007, the Kwik-E-Mart conversion of 12 stores plus marketing of Simpsons products in July leading up to The Simpsons Movie captured international attention and became the biggest promotion in 7-Eleven’s history.