First 7-Eleven opens downtown

Customers get free Slurpees to celebrate chain's return to Jacksonville

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Months after the mayor's announcement 7-Eleven opened its first store downtown Thursday.

The store on the corner of Forsyth and Julia streets is one of five set to open this month in Jacksonville.

Thursday morning's opening was delayed for a few hours by a faulty safe, but the store opened by afternoon, giving out free Slurpees.

People packed the first 7-Eleven in Jacksonville since the convenience store chain closed its doors in the River City about 20 years.

Many are happy to see it back.

"I was a little kid when 7-Eleven's were around," said customer Buddy Peacock. "I remember when they left, and I remember how much I missed having a Slurpee. So I'm just glad they're back in Jacksonville."

"I got chicken wings and a Slurpee. I just had to see if the Slurpee was the same," said customer Jermaine Wilson, who works nearby.

Nestled on the corner of Forsyth and Julia, many of the people at Thursday's opening work in one of the offices nearby.

They said they're glad to have one more eating option downtown.

"With the courthouse coming back, you know, it brought a lot of the restaurants back into the area, and so with the 7-Eleven right across the street, glory days are here again," Wilson said.

This store is different. There's no gas pumps, and 7-Eleven designed it with more of an urban feel. There's more hot food and more Slurpee flavors -- eight instead of six.

The store hired all local people and is even more dependent on sales.

Workers said they're happy to be a good addition to downtown.

"We've already had a lot of applicants come by and we already have a lot of people working for us, and we really enjoy them coming for us," said Joseph Whale, a 7-Eleven field consultant. "And secondly we offer the best convenience store you can get, and we love to brighten up this corner of Jacksonville."

While Thursday was the first day the store was open, 7-Eleven said it did not consider it a "grand opening." The store plans to one in the near future.