Community, Weeklies

Westward Expansion

Next time you are starving at 2 a.m. on a Friday night, why not give a 7-Eleven Slurpee a try?

Over the past couple of months, businesses on BU’s west campus have been making some changes. The popular convenience store 7-Eleven has opened a branch located at 860 Commonwealth Ave. this past December; the Starbucks right next door to the 7-Eleven is undergoing renovations; and the popular restaurant Sunset Cantina at 916 Commonwealth Ave. was just renovated as well.

OH THANK HEAVEN

Felice D’Anna is the owner of the newly opened 7-Eleven and has been working within the franchise for the past ten years. He said the franchise picked this location to open a store because of the proximity of the large number of college students.

“We are open from 6 a.m. to 2 a.m. every day,” he said. “Hopefully we will have a lot of college students stumbling in because we have a wide variety of items for them.”

Similar to many other convenience stores, 7-Eleven is known for its quick and easy coffee selection. However, with so many other businesses in the area selling coffee, including the Starbucks right next door, the store has some fierce competition.

“We’re different because of the quality and price of our coffee. We keep [the coffee] fresh all of the time and it’s a lot cheaper than Starbucks or anything around here,” D’Anna said.

However, the cheap prices of coffee does not convince School of Management sophomore Evan Pring to switch up his usual coffee routine.

“I don’t go to 7-Eleven because it’s too far from where I live,” Pring said. “I would get coffee there, but I get so many Starbucks gift cards as gifts so I always just go there instead.”

Unlike Pring, School of Education sophomore Lauren Lazarus is excited about the newest coffee hot spot.

“The coffee is 99 cents for a refill there, which is great,” Lazarus said. “I wouldn’t go there instead of using dining points at Starbucks [in the George Sherman Union or SMG] but I would go to 7-Eleven instead of using convenience points at Campus Co.”

With locations in Kenmore Square and on Brighton Avenue as well, the newest 7-Eleven addition sells staple foods including eight varieties of Slurpees and hot foods, such as taquitos. The variety of Slurpees extends way past the classic cherry and blueberry with novelty flavors including red apple chill, Crystal Light and Sprite snowblast. The newest location has 90 second hot pizza and “fresh and go” foods are also available. D’Anna said that the “fresh and go” food options, such as sandwiches and salads, are delivered fresh every day.

“No one wants to eat a ham and cheese sandwich that has been sitting out for five days. 7-Eleven is all about freshness,” said D’Anna.

The store is having a grand opening on February 10, featuring a DJ, prizes, seven-cent Slurpees and 11-cent hot dogs. D’Anna is confident that the store will have a good turnout. Many West Campus students are excited about this newest addition to their culinary options and its grand opening.

“Not kidding, I absolutely love 7-Eleven,” said Molly Byrne, a College of General Studies sophomore.

THE SUN IS RISING ON SUNSET

Just a couple of stores down on Commonwealth Avenue, the popular Mexican themed restaurant Sunset Cantina recently underwent renovations. The restaurant’s owner, Marc Kadish, said that the new renovations have changed the vibe of Sunset as a whole.

“We doubled the size of the bar space, added 40 or so seats as well as new and interesting conversation pieces on the walls,” Kadish said. “We also doubled the size of the outside patio. In the past we couldn’t accommodate all of the people that came here, but now we can better serve our customers.”

With the recent renovations, Kadish said that business has improved for the restaurant. Even though it is located right in the heart of west campus, the restaurant does not exclusively serve students.

“The crowd changes at different times of the day. During lunch hours we have more business people,” Kadish said. “But as the day gets later, the crowd gets younger and by 11 o’clock at night we have more of a young crowd.”

Sunset Cantina serves more than 200 tequilas and 38 craft beers. Their menu is “Mexican inspired” and the restaurant serves both traditional Mexican dishes such as burritos as well as American foods such as burgers. For Super Bowl Sunday on Feb. 5, Kadish said Sunset is a great place to watch the game.

“We don’t have a cover charge and we will have some Super Bowl food specials and deals,” Kadish explained. “It’s a comfy hangout, and an alternative to sports bars which can be a bit much and too crowded.”

STARBUCKS’ COZY CAFE

The Starbucks branch located right next to the 7-Eleven, at 874 Commonwealth Ave. is closed the week of Jan. 23 to Jan. 27 for renovations as well, and will re-open with regular hours on Saturday.

According to a sign on the outside of the store’s front entrance, the renovations are going to help make Starbucks into a more “cozy café.” The changes include new furniture, paint, artwork, more seating and improvements to the counter to insure faster customer service, says the sign.

However, despite the renovations, Lazarus is curious about the future success of this Commonwealth Ave. Starbucks.

“With 7-Eleven right next door selling cheap coffee, I wonder what is going to happen to that Starbucks specifically and all of its customers,” Lazarus said.

With so many options for dormitory and off-campus housing available on the West Campus end of BU, a large number of students live there throughout their four years in college. The renovations to Sunset Cantina and Starbucks might spark further changes to other businesses; and who knows what competition the addition of 7-Eleven will bring.

“We are always open for suggestions to the store and offer promotions and discounts for our customers,” D’Anna said. “We are really just trying to help the community.”

For more Spotlight check out our blog – http://freepblog.wordpress.com/2012/01/24/top-11-foods-under-7-at-7-eleven/

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