Curious Jake — What Happened to 7-Eleven?

What Happened to 7-Eleven?


Photo credit: Evan Ehrhart

Neon green spells tragedy at 7/11.

What happened to the 7-Eleven‭? ‬I’m not sure‭, ‬but like most things in my life‭, ‬I have a thought‭. ‬Here‭, ‬I offer to you my investigation into Parker’s most pressing community issue‭.‬

The closure of the 7-Eleven clearly has affected all facets of our daily life‭. ‬Personally‭, ‬I never go there‭, ‬but many of my friends do‭. ‬My advisory mates have a particular fondness for their greasy pizza‭, ‬crinkly bags of chips‭, ‬and energy drinks with unpronounceable chemicals‭. ‬When I asked senior Finn Hall for comment‭, ‬he had nothing more to say than‭ ‬“I miss it honestly‭, ‬that’s all‭.‬”‭ ‬The bi-weekly meetings of the Tyler advisory have not been the same since the 7-Eleven closed in January of this year‭.‬

I first heard speculation that the 7-Eleven had closed because of health problems‭, ‬whatever that meant‭. ‬Seemed believable enough‭ ‬‮—‬‭ ‬that place is sort of gross‭. ‬And‭, ‬for a few days there was a neon green sign from the City of Chicago reading‭ ‬“License Suspended‭.‬”

The strange part is the state of the store for the last few weeks‭. ‬The lights are on‭, ‬food is on the shelves‭, ‬but the store is closed‭. ‬A simple sign on the window offers no details‭.‬

With the background out of the way‭, ‬let’s talk facts‭. ‬Sort of‭. ‬Everything I write here is either a‭) ‬my own investigation‭, ‬b‭) ‬hearsay from students and faculty‭, ‬or c‭) ‬somewhat informed speculation‭. ‬More on that later‭.‬

I was tired of student speculation and wanted to figure out what truly had happened to the 7-Eleven‭.‬

My first step of research came to me one night‭. ‬Lying in bed at 1‭ ‬a.m‭., ‬I remembered my fondness for government-run data sites‭. ‬After a little Google-Fu I made my way to Health and Human Service’s subpage on‭. ‬A search for 2264‭ ‬N‭. ‬Clark Street offered me ten entries ranging from 2013‭ ‬to January 2022‭.‬‭ ‬While a bit verbose the data was clear‭.‬

On January 21‭, ‬the 7-Eleven was inspected for the first time since May of 2020‭ ‬after a complaint‭. ‬The results‭? ‬Fail‭. ‬The violations‭? ‬Numerous‭. ‬Concerning‭, ‬and disgusting‭. ‬The generic violations are there‭ ‬‮—‬‭ ‬no certified food manager on site at the time of inspection‭; ‬must not use milk crates for storage and seating‭; ‬grime and debris on floor‭. ‬Then‭, ‬the damning‭ (‬to me‭) ‬one‭. ‬I quote verbatim from the‭ ‬“comments”‭ ‬section under item‭ #‬38‭, ‬insects‭, ‬rodents‭, ‬and animals‭: ‬“OBSERVED TWO LIVE RATS AT REAR DISHROOM AREA GOING UNDER THE DOOR EQUIPMENT ROOM BY EXIT DOOR‭. ‬‮…‬‭ ‬MUST CLEAN AND SANITIZE THROUGHOUT THE PREMISES‭. ‬PRIORITY VIOLATION:7-38-030‭(‬A‭), ‬CITATION ISSUED‭.‬”

Ouch‭. ‬Gross‭. ‬Well‭, ‬that’s the story then‭, ‬right‭? ‬The 7-Eleven is closed because of numerous health violations‭? ‬Case closed‭.‬

Not‭! ‬A mere five days later‭, ‬on January 25‭, ‬the 7-Eleven was reinspected‭. ‬And‮…‬‭ ‬it passed‭! ‬So why‭, ‬then‭, ‬is the store still closed‭? ‬This is where things get murky‭. ‬Here’s the‭ (‬b‭) ‬and‭ (‬c‭) ‬I mentioned‭ ‬‮—‬‭ ‬hearsay and professional‭, ‬personal opinion‭.‬

A certain faculty member who frequented the 7-Eleven told me that before the pandemic‭, ‬he overheard someone at the 7-Eleven‭ ‬‮—‬‭ ‬presumably the owner‭ ‬‮—‬‭ ‬talking to someone else about how‭, ‬if he couldn’t obtain a liquor license he would have to close‭.‬

The store not being able to obtain a liquor license is not unlikely at all‭. ‬The City of Chicago will not‭ (‬unless under special circumstances‭) ‬issue a liquor license to any establishment within 100‭ ‬feet of a school‭.‬

I consulted with a business law professional‭. ‬He told me that it is certainly probable that the store not making enough money‭, ‬combined with the health violation‭, ‬meant that the 7-Eleven franchisee could no longer operate the store‭, ‬and that it is closed until 7-Eleven corporate can find a new owner‭. ‬Additionally‭, ‬7-Eleven is infamous for being a poorly organized franchise‭, ‬so this‭ ‬situation would come as no surprise‭.‬

This is my best theory‭, ‬backed up with on-the-ground reporting‭, ‬official government data‭, ‬and a little dash of speculation‭. ‬I hope that I have quenched your Big-Gulp-sized-thirst for knowledge‭. ‬I wish I had more news on when we might see the return of the‭ ‬gorgeous‭, ‬glistening rolling hotdogs‭, ‬or the suspiciously cheap pizza‭, ‬but alas‭. ‬This will have to do‭.‬

7-Eleven corporate did not respond for comment‭. ‬I tried‭.‬

Best regards‭,‬

Jacob Boxerman‭ (‬“Curious Jake”‭)‬