Alma welcomes a new convenience store to take the place of the old 7/11. “7 Star,” is the name and it is an original title by Store Owner: Sky Butrus.
“I feel pretty good about the new store,” said Butrus. He also owns Boomer’s Party Store and a few additional party stores in the surrounding area.
The property and building where the 7/11 once sat had been abandoned since last year when the enterprise’s corporate office decided to close down the store and board up the building they leased from a retired physician in town; that’s when Alma College was approached about the purchase of the building.
“The owner of the property came to us and said he’d like to do something for the college, and he agreed to sell us the property at below market value,” said Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Alan Gatlin, who is primarily responsible for the business aspects of the college.
Alma College jumped on the deal presented to them and started looking for a tenant to rent the business space to.
“Alma College reached out to local businesses in the area about leasing the space, and I happened to be one of them,” said Butrus.
“7 Star” will be the closest convenience store to campus, sitting only a block away on Wright Avenue, right next to the Starbucks and Alma College Bookstore.
“It feels good getting the new store. It was disappointing to see the 7/11 go, so it is nice to see something else like that,” said Jordan Jackson (‘21).
Alma College has now expanded its property even more into the town with their purchase of the building.
“It is a key piece of real estate for the college to own because we already own the Starbuck’s property there on the corner, so it was a nice addition. But the most important thing was to get a convenience store back. The last thing the city needs is a boardedup building,” said Gatlin.
The store will be carrying tobacco and other nicotine products. Alma College is now a smoke-free, tobacco-free and vape-free campus as many know, but students do not think this will increase the frequency of policy violations in any way.
“I think that those who are [using nicotine products] are going to do it regardless of the store being there or not,” said Richard Scroggins (‘21). Faculty members do not seem concerned about an increase in violations of one of the newer and more major policies on campus.
“I think that tobacco products are always available, and whether a convenience store is right on the outskirts of campus or not is really not going to have a major impact on whether or not students comply with the policy,” said Gatlin.
The store will also be a closer access to alcoholic beverages for students.
“I think as long as the store does a good job of checking ID’s, [alcohol] won’t be a problem,” said Joseph Vondrasek (‘21).
It is still undetermined if Munch Money will be able to be used at the “7 Star” or not. If Munch Money does go into effect at the new store, this will be the first convenience and grocery-type store to accept Munch Money.
“We are talking about [implementing Munch Money], but we haven’t determined that yet; a lot of factors go into it,” said Gatlin.
The store is currently at a soft opening; there is limited stock on the shelves and it is cash-only while the computer systems are getting established. An official opening date for the fully stocked and operated store is set for Oct. 1.