7-Eleven sparks downtown business

11 stores now open around Jacksonville

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The 7-Eleven that opened downtown in March is sparking other businesses to open shop, which is a huge goal for the city -- to spruce up downtown.

"We got to get Jacksonville back to being successful," said Donald Harris, of the Downtown Investment Authority. "With any city you go to, it has a successful downtown, and we have to get our city successful."

Just after the 7-Eleven opened, word came that McDonald's will open up just across the street, as well as a Dollar General. It has people who live in the area pleased.

"We're a sleeping giant downtown and we need a store like 7-Eleven and McDonald's," downtown resident Wayne Streeter said.

He said downtown has potential, and the 7-Eleven is the start to realizing that potential.

"A couple of guys got stabbed here, but thank God right now there's a 7-Eleven and it looks a whole lot brighter downtown," Streeter said.

7-Eleven has opened up 11 stores in the last nine months. The company says by 2016, it will have 80 stores in business in northeast Florida.

"7-Eleven's goal is to open a new store about every three weeks here in this area," said Joseph Whale, of 7-Eleven. "It's not just the appearance of the location, it's the service we provide. I mean, we have a lot of businesses here who didn't have anywhere to go eat lunch or they had to bring it with them. Now they have fresh food right around the go."

With every store, at least 10 jobs become available. It may not sound like a lot, but with 80 stores that's 800 jobs, plus more sales tax, more business and franchise opportunities.

So far, the 11 stores around town are located on Blanding Boulevard, Union Street, Julia Street, Lane Avenue, County Road 220, Max Leggett Parkway, South Lane Avenue, two on Third Street North, Atlantic Boulevard and Dunn Ave.

The next store under construction is at the corner of Kernan and Atlantic boulevards.