Petition Fails, “Crypto-Classism” Defeated with Arrival of a 7-11 coming to 14th and Florida Ave, NW

Solea building at 14th and Florida Ave, NW

About a month ago we learned about a petition hoping to block a 7-11 from coming to this corner. At that time Citylab’s Kriston Kapps penned A Petition Against a D.C. 7-11 and the Crypto-Classism of NIMBYism:

“It’s one thing when someone groans about a store he doesn’t like opening in his neighborhood. It’s another when nearly 200 others join him in his call to keep out commercial enterprises that cater to people of lower means. It’s classism.”

Kapps can now back away from the Bastille, a reader tweets us a sign permit for a 7-Eleven at 2300 14th Street, NW:


87 Comment

  • Say what you want about 7-11, when it’s hot in DC, sometimes you just gotta have a Slurpee.

  • Well, if they sell quinoa chips and $6 bottles of kombucha, it’ll be a win-win.

  • I have no doubt some of those petitioning against the 7-11 are responding to the customers. Perhaps Mr. Capps should spend some time outside of the one in Colombia Heights and see how much he likes the clientele when they are harassing him constantly.

    That said, I also imagine many are protesting because they frankly wanted something nicer that they’d probably use more frequently than a 7-11. Some people would like to dine on something other than a taquito that’s been rotating on a roller for 8 hours. Yes, some people might not like 7-11 because it is garbage and it has nothing to do with the clientele.

    Oh and sorry, but 14th and Florida isn’t “gentrifying.” It isn’t 2010 anymore. Florida and North Cap is gentrifying. Florida and New York is gentrifying. 14th and Florida IS white yuppie DC and has been for a while now. Stop shaming people for wanting something nicer for themselves in their own neighborhood. This coming from someone who 10 years ago wouldn’t have lived in DC anyway unless it was in an apartment in Admo. Some of us who have lived here for 20 years find it amusing when young white people pontificate in their hot takes on gentrification in the city and white yuppiness. Calm down, boo.

    • “Some people would like to dine on something other than a taquito that’s been rotating on a roller for 8 hours.”

      Are you seriously suggesting there are not plenty of dining options near 14th and Florida?

      • phl2dc

        Seriously, WTF?

      • There are also a ton of places, including another 7-11 within a few blocks of this place. What I’m saying is that if I lived in that building or nearby, I would absolutely take ANOTHER restaurant, cafe, anything other than a 7-11. And that isn’t classism except that I’m too classy to eat a nasty taquito from 7-11. And I can get rubbers from one of the many other stores in the area.

    • This response confuses me. Is this Calvin Gurley?

    • Do you live in this area? Because if you did, you would realize that 14th and Florida isn’t just just “white yuppie DC.” Sure, there are some white yuppies in the area. But there are still plenty of lower income minorities who live in the area as well. Especially if we’re talking about the section of 14th St between Florida Ave and Harvard St.

      Also, even as a white yuppie myself, I’m much more likely to frequent a 7-11 than some sort of artisanal shop. Sometimes you just need a cheap snack.

    • Was this supposed to be a counter argument of some kind? It’s hard to tell as it is nonsensical. Not wanting a 7-11 in your building or across the street isn’t obnoxious. There are plenty of 7-11 alternatives in that vicinity and there’s nothing wrong with wanting something unique or different than something that literally exists three blocks away already. That isn’t obnoxious. It’s common sense for most people.

  • This makes me so happy.

  • Great! I’m moving to an apartment a couple blocks to the west in 2 weeks. It’ll be nice to have a place close by to grab snacks.

    If I want something bougie and expensive, I can always go a couple blocks south to Smucker Farms. Sometimes choices are good, people!

  • Don’t understand the big deal. There has been a 7-11 on 17th and R for years, and I’ve never noticed any problems…other than me getting a 1/4 lb Big Bite with chili and cheese late at night…

    • Yeah the 7-11 at 14th and RI is idyllic… I love the pan handler opening the door for me and begging for money. We need more 7-11s!

    • Or the 7-Eleven at 19th and Wyoming. It’s pretty quiet there all the time.

      • I actually really love living (almost) next to that 7-11. Not a big 7-11 person, but it’s great for picking up ice, milk, creamer, or ice cream in an emergency (not sure why dairy/frozen goods are what I always need…)

      • I loved living across the street. Total junk food access plus when the parking was less enforced in those days, there were always taxis, so you had round the clock cab availability plus every police force imaginable would stop there (MPD, Metro, Uniformed Secret Service, NPS). Much better than having overpriced hipster bait around.

    • I’m as big a fan of the 17th & R location as anyone, but it has a distinctly unfair advantage as the unofficial club house of the MPD 3rd District 😉

    • Sorry, but this 7-11 is in a very affluent area. Spend an hour, just an hour, standing steps from the door to the 7-11 at 14th & Columbia and see how you feel. And if you are male, send your female friend to do the same and watch what happens and get her response. It isn’t about not wanting cheaper options for those who are not as affluent – it is about the trashy clientele that is attracted to the 7-11 who never leave after patronizing the store. And they literally throw all the wrappers and food boxes and other waste on the sidewalk, in your yard and right next to the 15 trash cans they have passed rather than disposing of it properly. I constantly have to make judgement calls about walking the “gauntlet” of kids who literally push me around and the cat callers loitering outside or heading down the deserted alley to get into my building. Most days, the alley wins.

      • The CH 7-11 is awful, but I feel just as unsafe walking past the area around Potbelly and, now, the playground at Girard, as I do there. Now even the fountain is ooking me out since an increasingly large group of guys is there every morning by 8:30, openly drinking 40s or, this morning, straight out of a liquor bottle (they’re more benign and less threatening than the other examples, but still). I actively avoid them all. Would shutting down the 7-11 really change anything? I think the notion that one convenience store somehow breeds this atmosphere is seriously misplaced.

        • Agree with this 100%. That whole strip of 14th is full of loiterers — if you got rid of 7/11, it wouldn’t fix the issue. People will just congregate somewhere else on the block or by whatever replaces it.

          • “or by whatever replaces it”
            Exactly. And, not to venture too far afield, but I’d bet this is a big reason why they’re having trouble filling retail space at DC USA.

        • if you see someone drinking in public call the police. Even if they can’t/won’t do anything, the call gets recorded for that location and the data will start to show trends. MPD operates mostly on data points.

      • HaileUnlikely

        I think that 7-Eleven has a tremendous ability to fit into its surroundings without shaking things up. In nice areas, the 7-Eleven’s are reasonably nice (not upscale, but clean and tidy). In trashy areas, the 7-Eleven’s also tend to be kind of trashy.

  • Won’t someone think of the poor people not being able to pay exorbitant markup on junk food? Why, soon we’ll be speaking out against the downtrodden bettering themselves through casino winnings and usurious loans.

  • Is “yuppie” still actually a thing?

  • Oh please. Call it classisim if you eant, but there are legit reasons for not wanting a 7-11 open near you. When i’m cleaning up litter from the sidewalk in fromt of my place, it’s not trash from the bougie takeout places that i’m finding…

  • It’s kind of funny how you picture all the young people moving into DC as being progressive minded and perhaps having some understanding of how vastly different classes of people must learn to live and work in close proximity to one another in a big city like this. But then you hear about stories such as this one, and you realize how very wrong you were.

    • I’m as quick to jump on the bandwagon of mocking gentrifier NIMBYism as anybody else, but I’ll be damned if the outpouring of mockery here seems somewhat overblown. There are legit reasons for anyone to be skeptical of 7-Eleven — it sells almost exclusively unhealthy food at almost always high prices; it is a pretty terrible neighborhood citizen in that it appears unconcerned with dealing with the garbage it makes money creating (in Japan, many convenience stores have a bank of garbage cans/recycle bins outside to deal with the bits of garbage such stores uniquely produce); and one nearby franchise is a magnet for loiterers.

      It’s likely what’s coded in the last example that has brought out the vitriol — as though the petition from the start was meant to keep low-income/minority neighbors at the margins. And perhaps I’m unusually sympathetic to this example because my partner found a new route to my place after being harassed so often walking past the Columbia + 14th 7-Eleven. But I don’t think we’d have a petition against, say, a budget supermarket or deli, even if they would not primarily serve the “yuppies” who are making this petition. I find it somewhat puzzling that an international conglomerate that has demonstrated little to no interest in the neighborhood community –and that makes its money peddling unhealthy food at prices comparable to healthier food available literally a block away from this location — has become a rallying point for some vision of localism and service of the low-income/minority community.

      • +1,000
        I wish the misguided petitioners had put their thoughts together a little more. There are plenty of good reasons to oppose 7-11 and but their boorish and bizarre letter actually created support for 7-11.

      • anonymouse_dianne

        Have you been to a 7-11 recently? They changed management drastically about 10 years ago. They sell fresh baked goods everyday, and donate what’s left at the end of the day to homeless kitchen. See if you can find the “Undercover Boss” that featured the CEO of 7-11 – its quite revealing of the changes.

        • I think you dreamed that. All the 7-11s I’ve been to (and there are 3-4 I visit regularly because I can’t kick my coke slushee habit) are always filthy from top to bottom, and exclusively stocked with processed junk. Well, except for the few bananas on the counter. So… props?

        • Also, most 7-11 stores are franchises, not corporate owned stores. I think there is likely some variety in how “nice” any given 7-11 store is and most I’ve stopped in within DC are garbage, sell garbage food, and leave garbage all over the neighborhood.

      • justinbc

        It’s funny you mention Japan, since 7-11 is a Japanese company.

        • the content and design of Japanese 7-11s is a far cry from the crap store we know here in the states. Japanese 7-11s would surely be welcomed to any neighborhood…would love to understand why the same standards used in japan aren’t repeated here…

          • justinbc

            Because they understand the expectations of the average American consumer.

          • or they don’t give a shit about the expectations of the average American consumer…

          • HaileUnlikely

            7-Eleven is a profitable business. I suspect that they understand the average American consumer much better than the average American consumer understands the average American consumer.

    • if it makes you feel better, residents who have lived in NE for half a century tend to hate the announcement of a new 7-11 just as much as – if not more – than the newcomers..

  • Is spending on empty calories, and other unhealthy choices, really a boon to the poor?

    • As if the affluent don’t spend way more on empty calories and other unhealthy choices.

      • Hahaha – that’s roughly half of Trader Joe’s business plan! But it’s organic dark chocolate covered organic peanut butter cups. So it’s ok…….

      • Definitely. I’m much more supportive of empty calories I can consume through a $15 cocktail.

      • I am not sure the point – if someone protested a high end cupcake shop, would we call that classism against the rich?

        I am not saying unhealthy foods or high prices for empty calories are why folks petitioned – but acting as if the petition was somehow something that would have harmed poor people seems weird. Spending money on junk food is more of an economic problem for poor people, because they have have less money, and its a bigger health problem, because they are more likely to suffer from obesity, diabetes, etc. And they often have few health care options.

        People who care so much for the poor might find a more appropriate target than some yuppies who don’t like 7/11. If that is they really do care for the poor, rather than being motivated by some knee jerk libertarian reaction against yuppie petitions.

        • But I keep forgetting that todays “progressives” are much more about policing the discourse, than about actually achieving social change. NIMBY’s who oppose affordable housing, or residents who prioritize income tax cuts over sales tax cuts, may actually harm the poor, but a petition against 7/11 that mentions “loitering” is red meat (so to speak) for the culture warriors who write for Atlantic. (note the right as well tends to love culture war, but they are using that to disguise their economic agenda, not as a substitute for one)

          • I think you’re fabricating a hypothetical person that would NIMBY a 7-11 but not affordable housing. Also I don’t think a paternalistic attitude about how people with little money spend what they have is “progressive”.

        • “People who care so much for the poor might find a more appropriate target than some yuppies who don’t like 7/11.”

          Yuppies who don’t like 7/11 affect all of us more than anyone else. Yuppies who don’t like 7/11, i.e., the upper middle class are the most politically influential group in the country. The mega-rich .01% may have money but they don’t have the numbers and social/community connections that the yuppies who don’t like 7/11 do. So, no, there really is no more relevant a target than the group of people who thought they had the power stop an international Japanese conglomerate from opening a store nearby because it simply wasn’t to their taste.

  • I understand the concept that Kapps is trying to appeal to, but, while 7-11 might appeal to a sub-segment of people with lower means, they aren’t bringing much value to those people. 7-11 provides products of low quality and even less health value. Most of their products are filled with sugar, salt, fat and chemicals. To me it sounds more like the author has been heavily influenced financially by 7-11. I don’t think 7-11 has the best interest at heart of “people of lower means.”

    • HaileUnlikely

      Most businesses do not have the best interests of their customers at heart. A few might, but most definitely do not.

      • Nor should they. A for-profit company should do everything in its power to maximize profit. It’s the only reason it exists, to create money. The onus is on individual human beings to look out for their best interests. If they don’t do this themselves, they are lost.

  • Lived next to the 7-11 on U St (in the Lincoln) for years and one of my favorite things was running down to get a glazed doughnut or 3 at midnight when the truck delivered them fresh haha. Lighten up people.

    Maybe they’ll sell a winning lottery ticket as a part of the marketing plan lol

  • I really can’t believe that so many commentators are going the “we know what’s best for the health of people with low incomes” route as a response to the classicism accusation. Where are these comments about “unhealthy foods” when maple-bacon donut purveyors open up>

    • I did not say that the motivation of the petition is concern about the health of the poor – it may well be concern about litter and loitering.

      But the net impact of a 7/11 coming is not good for the poor, and pretending that the petition failing is somehow a victory for the poor over classism and gentrification is absurd.

      • It’s a 7/11. There are dozens within a couple miles of U street. I think we all need to take a step back and recognize that this will not dramatically change anyone’s life.

    • I was also amazed at the number of “nutritional experts” who popped up during the great Mt. Pleasant Subway debate. They are hilariously patronizing without the slightest bit of self-awareness.

    • Blithe

      Well, concern for the health of others sounds — and probably feels — much, much better than voicing obvious distaste for people that the commenters view as riff raff. How dare you bring up maple-bacon doughnuts and carb heavy junk food from Trader Joe’s!

    • I assume those comments are a reaction to some of the other comments that are acting like 7-11 is some core service for the poor, which is also a little ridiculous. As has been everything about this story from day 1.

    • Even better are the ones talking about 7-11’s “exorbitant markup.” Yeah, no crap, it’s a convenience store. It’s open 24/7, always stocked, and located where people live. Just because they’re charging $2 for a bag of chips that you can get for $0.69 at Safeway doesn’t mean they’re exploiting the poor or something.

    • justinbc

      Don’t fool yourself. McDonald’s falls in the same category, and it markets heavily to the poor. The difference between an affluent person deciding to eat a $5 gold speckled is that person is generally in a position to actually make such a decision because they have 1) the time and 2) the money. Convenience stores and fast food places depend on people with minimal amounts of either to save time by eating their cheap junk. If you’re getting off a double shift and the grocery store is closed (as if you would have had time to prepare a meal anyway) then a couple 99 cent hot dogs at 7-11 will have to do, even if they provide little nutritional value. Same goes if you’re taking your kids out to dinner at McDonald’s at 8pm so they can order off the dollar menu before going to bed. I’m not delusional enough to think that shutting down this 7-11 will make any real difference, those people would do more good to advocate for improving the actual environment that causes poor people to be in that position in the first place, but let’s not pretend that these types of places aren’t just lions feeding off the weakest of the population.

  • This is great and will bring some much needed loitering for this urban intersection. Soon this intersection will be full of panhandlers and trash like a city should be. Why complain when you can get delicious wings that have sat in a warmer for 8 hours. I’ll he hanging out by the front door to welcome all of you every day. 711 is planning another location at howard by the chipotle.

  • For the record, I”m okay with everyone on popville thinking they’re a nutrition expert. Or at least, it’s better than when everyone on popville thinks they’re a structural engineer (“have walked by this and the construction looks shoddy and will surely blow over in the next derecho”) or a PR professional kvetching about the structure and word choice of every press release…

  • When I was lad, we *dreamed* that a 7-11 would open in the ground floor of our building, but no. Instead, all had was a 10-foot pile of rotten fish dumped in front of our door every Monday morning, and we had to eat from that pile all week long, until they brought us another pile the next Monday, and we considered ourselves LUCKY!

  • If this is crypto-classicism, HAIL! CRYPTO-CLASSICISM! The more opposition that the 7-11 and Subway type businesses get, the better. They will inevitabley open as many places as they can, so let’s keep it to a minimum if we can, lest everywhere in DC becomes like the big-box suburban shopping mall that is Columbia Heights/14th St. Anyone can sell a frozen sugar-water drink….why does 7-11 have to be on every corner like CVS, Starbucks, and Dunkin’ Donuts? Hail! Crypto-Classicism!

  • The mere ability to belabor this issue reeks of privilege.

  • Crypto what ? i just hate that “fu*kin sign….keeps me up all night. Don’t read so much into it.

  • Those who find fault about a 7/11 store coming to 14th and U Streets, NW are the same people who have only got here yesterday. Now they think that they have arrived and they want only the top of the line stores in their building or their neighborhood. What infuriates me more is that these same people would drive 10 miles out their way rather then come near 14th Street in years past. Personally, I would rather see a 7/11 then another GIN joint for the drunks that can fill up and desecrate the neighborhood with their discards. A 7/11 provides a means of getting the things needed at the last minuet for dinner, barbecue or a soiree. Those that protest should pack their bags and go back to where they came from because they are now in the big CITY and not the country.

  • Krispy Cream, or whatever the author’s name is, is a real idiot. Clearly dude doesn’t know what he’s talking about, Take your smug use of “crypto-classism” and go hang with the crowds outside of Columbia Heights 7-11. F’n douche will be run out of there in under 5 minutes.

  • figby

    A big part of the problem is the crappy street-level design of these awful condo buildings — extremely unappealing, set back with ugly vents and concrete posts, no loyalty to the sidewalk esthetic at all. What decent retailer wants to huddle in them?

  • Just a suggestion, but I think that 7-11 would get a great PR boost in this city if at least a couple of them offered Amazon Lockers. These are only available in their suburban locations, but given all of the porch thefts, it would make a lot of sense to offer this in the city.

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