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7-Eleven determined to build store near Claremont Colleges

Claremonters may have said no to 7-Eleven on the city’s portion of Foothill Boulevard, but it hasn’t stopped the Big Gulps from coming close to town.

Upland is moving forward with plans to build the convenience store known for its soft drinks and Slurpee’s at Monte Vista Avenue and Arrow Route in the College Park Retail Center, as noted by David Allen of the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin. Located just a mile or so down the road from where a similar store was proposed in Claremont, the Upland venture is expected to open this spring.

While Claremont residents said no to the perceived risks that would come along with the store, Upland said yes to the opportunity to generating more money despite what some view as a liquor store overload in Claremont’s neighbor city.

“It’s revenue for the city, and by golly we all know we need the revenue,” said Upland Councilwoman Debbie Stone in late December.

Claremont residents banded together in the spring of 2010 in a notable display of opposition against a 7-Eleven store filling vacant space on the corner of Foothill and Mills Avenue. Among arguments against the store was the possibility of increased crime, littering and the sale of alcohol close to the Colleges.

“Being so close to this proposed site that’s going to be open 24/7, I find it to be a great security risk,” Claremont resident Mark Ingalls told the Planning Commission at the meeting where they denied 7-Eleven a city permit. “In the summer evenings in the wonderful climate in which we live, we like to sleep with the windows open. I think I’ll have to change our habits on that. I don’t think I’ll feel safe doing that anymore.”

Not all were on the same page. Claremont Graduate School student Dane Sawyer believed it would be a great place to go in between classes for a quick meal, noting that concerns about safety or alcohol consumption were misplaced.

“There are already several areas we can get alcohol in Claremont and to think that one additional place will suddenly bolster some ridiculous amount of alcohol consumption is just very, very far- fetched,” Mr. Sawyer said.

Monica Krueger, a representative for 7-Eleven, said the convenience store could bring in between $12,000 and $21,000 in annual sales tax revenue to the city. It would also create between 8 to 15 new jobs. But the planning commission opted to deny the permit in the face of overwhelming dissent. Community forums with the company and the neighborhood along with an appeal did nothing to change that decision and 7-Eleven pulled out.

The nearby 7-Eleven will join more than 5 other convenience and liquor stores located just outside Claremont’s borders on the busy, historic thoroughfare.

—Beth Hartnett

news@claremont-courier.com

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