Who Needs the Kwik-E Mart?

Simpsons 7-eleven
To answer the question of today’s post as eloquently as our favorite cartoon, convenience store attendant, “I do.” If you’re already lost, I’m referring to an episode from the 5th season of The Simpsons, where Apu gets fired from his trusty post, and goes on to sing a heart wrenching tune about his beloved home away from home. What does any of this have to do with Kingston you ask? Clearly the Kwik-E Mart shares certain commonalities with all convenience stores, from month-old hot dogs spinning on the roller grill, to microwave burritos that leave your mouth scorched for days. But only one real world convenience store chain has a beverage that truly lives up to the lore of the Kwik-E Mart’s Squishee. 7-Eleven has been serving Slurpees to patrons for as long as I can remember from their downtown location at Princess and Alfred, however they recently closed up shop once and for all.

Now without a Slurpee in sight, people are being forced to go across the street to Macs to get their sugar fix with mediocre Froster’s. In my opinion, they’re just not as good, but then again my association with 7-Eleven as a real world Kwik-E Mart might have something to do with my preference. Certainly I didn’t write today to devote an entire post to frozen, sugary beverages, so where exactly am I going with this? The store closure is more than simply a loss of a late night place to get Funions and Ding Dong’s, as the closure of 7-Eleven means one less place to get crude, black gold, Texas tea…oil!

After a quick inspection of the boarded up 7-Eleven , you’ll probably notice the massive Esso awning and curbs outside. These artifacts are all that remains of the Esso station, which once enjoyed a harmonious relationship with the convenience store. Combine this closure with the demolition of the Sunoco just up the street, and only two remaining downtown gas stations (Shell , and Rosen ) and you’ve got a recipe for longer lines at downtown locations or longer commutes to other fueling stations. Considering the record high fuel prices this past summer, I would liken owning a gas station in this city to a license to print money.

Just what went wrong with 7-Eleven and Esso? Based on pure speculation I’ve overheard, their relationship went sour after they could not agree to financial terms for a renewed lease. Yet again, with record oil prices, I can’t honestly see how Esso couldn’t come up with a few extra bucks to stay in business. Their closest remaining pumps sit on Gardiners Road, and Division Street near the 401, thus they’re definitely missing out on the downtown clientele. In any case, the downtown stations just got a bit busier. What are your thoughts on this? Are you more disappointed about Kingston’s lack of gas or Slurpees? Thank you, come again.

Harvey Kirkpatrick

Harvey Kirkpatrick is Kingstonist's Co-Founder. His features curiously explore urban planning, what if scenarios, the local food scene and notable Kingstonians. Loves playing tourist and listening to rap music. Learn more about Harvey...

5 thoughts on “Who Needs the Kwik-E Mart?

  • Didn’t know it was closed down. It always looked fairly busy to me. That does leave the downtown lacking in gas stations and Slurpees. I don’t have a car so I’d say the Slurpess going away is more important. :)

  • There’s a gas station on the corner of Days Rd and Bath Rd (I think it’s a Shell, used to be Beaver Gas) that has ICEE drinks and they’re good!!

    I still miss 7-11 but the ICEE drinks are doing me justice at the moment.

  • I used to live in that area and that store had a very low staff turnover so it was a great place to work. Now that it’s gone the only other downtown gas station is by Tim Horton’s across the old cop shop and it’s the most congested area in the city. The worst are are the drivers late for the ferry and they’ve been known to drive on the sidewalk forcing the pedestrians off. Very poor urban planning by the city not to mention the cops who never enforce all the bad driving in that area (even when they were still there).

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