Many rejoiced when Wawa opened its doors at the northeast corner of 22nd & South back in April, excited for grocery essentials, hoagies, and all the other stuff that you get at Wawa. Not everyone was so thrilled though, including bicyclists that have been frustrated by the near constant illegal parking in front of the Wawa. And we figured from day one that the owners of the 7-11, just up the street at 22nd & Lombard, would not appreciate the new competition. What we didn’t expect was that the long tenured convenience store wouldn’t make it through the summer.
While walking up 22nd Street over the weekend, we were stopped in our tracks as we discovered plywood covering the windows and a crew cleaning out the old 7-11. Not that we’re such huge fans of 7-11 (though we do love a Slurpee), but we were still jarred by the business’ absence, after seeing it there for decades. Doobies has been a go-to spot of ours for years, and we’ve set foot in the 7-11 across the street more times than we can count. Never again, though.
You wouldn’t necessarily notice from 22nd Street, but this store was located in a rather unusual mixed-use building. To the east on Lombard Street are three apartments, each with their own entrance. This building was constructed around 1980, and we’re pretty sure the 7-11 was on the first floor since the building was built. Before this building, there was a gas station here, if you could imagine such a thing at this corner.
Now we’re left to wonder what will eventually replace the old 7-11. This is a pretty great location that gets strong foot and auto traffic, even though it’s not on a traditional commercial corridor. Perhaps some other kind of food business could appear here, though it’s a safe bet that a convenience store won’t be in the cards. Whatever establishment ends up opening here, they will have their work cut out for them to have the staying power of the last business that operated out of this space- but as 7-11 and Doobies across that street have shown, it is certainly possible to run a business in one place for several decades. We don’t know the stats, but we would think that a forty year run will be much tougher to achieve starting in 2018 than it was for a business that started during the Reagan presidency. What do you think?