AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH
Google the term “7-11" and undoubtedly, you’ll discover a litany of news stories about robberies, shoplifting and even hostage standoffs and shootings. The convenience of milk and eggs around the clock has oft led to more grandiose criminal cravings, a plague so prevalent that another redundant newsworthy topic is that of location closings in the world’s largest convenience store operator, licensee and franchisor. At the same time, tales of its expansion woes also abound: push back from neighborhoods in cities like New York, where sentimental allegiance to smaller, independently-owned "old school" markets and bodegas wins the day…that is, until hipster tendencies kick in.
So, to make the go a bit more palatable, why not re-brand? Above are photos of a 7-11 in lower Manhattan’s Financial District which looked so unlike it’s traditional counterpart, we stood dumbstruck outside in awe of it for several minutes. With obvious design nods to several “hip” food and retail destinations, (think Whole Foods, Starbucks, Argo Tea), this new design was inviting, open, and definitely more soothingly illuminated than most existing doors. Fresh fruit, self-serve coffee and beer (yes, on tap and refills for growlers) and of course, a tricked-out 21st century Slurpee machine await customers, and this mart is not all about the quickie: free WiFi with elevated electrical outlets above sleek bamboo work surfaces invite extended stays. (Sold!)
While the familiar logo was used sparingly throughout the store, there was a new concentration on grass green as the highlight color, a seemingly smart move, if intentional, to lend the brand some kind of fresh, if even recycled air. Natural woods, concrete floors and warm colors help create the sense of a familiar atmosphere, like a campus bookstore. And the rear of the store houses a wall of Amazon Lockers, further endearing the corner store as a neighborhood fixture.
As far as we can tell, this is the only rollout of this new format in the immediate area. Time will tell if it will impact the chain on such a level that the design is implemented on a larger level, similar to the new look of McDonald’s restaurants. But we do think when looking to reinvent yourself, a makeover usually ranks up there as the best way to start. Kudos to 7-11 for clearing Hurdle #1.
What do you think of the 7-11 store re-design?