Never has a store opening excited me this much. Oh, IKEA was great, I even got a sneak preview, but this, THIS is epic.
What could be getting me, generally against chains, quite so excited?
First, let's talk about the location of this new store. Salter St. and Flora Ave. Arguably the absolute core of Winnipeg's infamous North End. So, what have we got at that corner? Well, there is a grubby feeling Esso/Laundromat, Children of the Earth High School, Gill's Furniture Warehouse and, up until recently, a Petro Canada gas station with perpetually for sale fried chicken business inside.
Quite a few months ago they started what seemed to be dismantling the Petro Canada (the gas price on the sign last read 129.9 if that gives you an idea when it shut down). Only recently did it become obvious that it wasn't a complete tear down, but rather a massive renovation.
Then, the other day, this:
I literally cheered out loud as I drove by the sign.
Now, 7-11 is not without its faults, it truly is a convenience food store - should you want anything remotely healthy be prepared to pay through the nose for it. However, they are clean, their milk is always in date and they adhere to the maximum milk prices set out by the Province.
Oh, and they have SLURPEES.
I don't know how you missed it if you're a regular reader of my blog, but I bloody well love Slurpees. I can't explain it. Otherwise I'm quite normal (ok, not really, but I can skip most of the things that other people can't live without and I'm indifferent to regular pop). 7-11 has always been my first stop when travelling to get a sense of what basics like bottles of water (in places where you can't drink the tap water - bottled water is ridiculous otherwise) should cost; it sets a benchmark. They are always brightly lit, open and clean. Oh, and in Thailand, serve as an excellent bill-breaker for those ridiculous 500 and 1000 Thai baht notes that no one else will accept.
What else does this say? Well, I think it demonstrates that the North End has come a long way. Many years ago there was a 7-11 at the corner of Salter and Aberdeen (now a mom and pop convenience store) but it closed, if I had to hazard a guess it was probably because between shoplifting and robbery it wasn't a profitable location. The fact that they are setting up shop again tells me that perhaps the North End is turning a corner in the minds of people who analyze risk for a living.
So, rarely will you see me quite so excited about a big corporate store opening up shop, but since I buy about 80% of my milk at 7-11 (in one litre containers only, otherwise their prices are absurd) and 100% of my Frozen Carbonated Beverages (tee hee, that's the generic name for Slurpees) there and it's perfectly placed to be a pit stop on my way home if I've headed south, I am over the moon!
Oh, and to any of you negative Nancys who are making snide comments about poor people/large sized people etc, just remember, it's a 7-11 deep in the heart of Southern Suburbia that sells the most Slurpees every year.