After six years of renovations, Collegetown’s 7-Eleven has unveiled its new interior with expanded shelf stock and twice as much floor space. Students have flocked there throughout the first weeks of the semester for its accessible locations and affordable, expanded options.
The 7-Eleven, located on 409 College Ave., sits at the juncture between Collegetown Bagels, the new Student Agencies building and the stone arch bridge to campus. The chain convenience store sells a variety of home goods and food, including hot options and produce.
The renovations began when the 7-Eleven bought a neighboring shop, according to store manager Jose Iemus. With the new space, builders added a bigger counter, a seating area and more drink machines. They also modernized the walls and floor tiles.
The 7-Eleven hosted a grand reopening early in September after postponing it three times. According to Iemus, Jose DePinto, Chief Executive Officer of 7-Eleven, Inc., both attended. Iemus noted the store’s importance as the first 7-Eleven location in upstate New York and the second-most profitable one in the state.
Alongside the Greenstar Food Co+op and Jason’s Grocery and Deli, the 7-Eleven is one of the few convenience or grocery stores in Collegetown. It is also the largest, and the only nationwide chain store in the area. Cornell students often flock there for affordable groceries and a familiar venue.
“80 percent of the customers we get are from Cornell,” said Iemus, “and then the other 20 percent are the people that work here in the establishments around [Collegetown].”
Cornell students have appreciated the location’s improved accessibility and appearance that come with the renovated space.
“One of my first times going back was just to see the renovation,” said Melanie Almanza ’23.
She said that she’s already visited more this semester than last, and she wasn’t the only student to note the location’s modern look.
“I like that and the huge variety of things in here,” said Jialin Lu ’22, who transferred to Cornell last year and did not visit the store much until this semester. “I was very surprised to have pretty good fruits here; I just got some grapes.”
Several students, including Eddie Hew ’23 and Jameson Rivera ’22, noted that they visit 7-Eleven frequently because it’s the closest grocery store to campus and Collegetown student housing. Hew noted that the Collegetown 7-Eleven is also larger than many he has seen.
“Back from where I’m from, the 7-Eleven’s are small gas station kind of things,” said Hew, “and they just have junk food and packaged goods on the shelves. It’s where you go when you’re hungry and not too worried about the quality. I was just really surprised when I walked into this one.”
Students also stated that the 7-Eleven is more accessible than nearby food sellers, because it both carries lower-cost items and caters to a wider range of palates.
“It makes a really big difference for me, genuinely,” said Rivera, “Because on campus now, I know that things are more costly… but it feels like prices haven’t changed in the 7-Eleven.”
Although she does most of her shopping at the Ithaca Wegmans, Lu noted that she comes to the 7-Eleven to get Asian snacks and the type of ramen she likes, which other stores do not carry.
“It’s honestly one of the only places where I kind of feel like it feels similar culturally to Long Island, because I can go in there and get Sazòn and rice and Goya bean cans,” said Rivera.
Going forward, Iemus said that the 7-Eleven will continue to expand with medicines, international foods and new machines. It also plans to update the ATM out front.
“There are a lot of things coming in,” he said.
Correction, Sept. 30, 6:31 p.m.: A previous version of this story stated that President Martha Pollack was at the grand opening of 7-Eleven. She was not, and the story has been updated.