7-Eleven Opens Wednesday, Owner Offers ‘Peace Treaty Slurpee’

IMG_3241Stephen Rex Brown Norman Jemal, the owner of the soon-to-open 7-Eleven on St. Marks Place, is ready to bury the hatchet with whoever smashed the window of his store.

The soda machine is already operating, the fridge is getting stocked with Gatorade, and the 14 coffee dispensers are in place. The new 7-Eleven on St. Marks Place is set to open on Wednesday with a new window pane on its storefront, following vandalism during Saturday night’s anarchist-fueled mayhem.

IMG_3243Stephen Rex Brown The cracked window.

“People have the right to express themselves, hopefully non-violently and without property damage,” said the owner of the convenience store, Norman Jemal. “Everyone has the right to their own opinion — though I’m not exactly sure what their opinion is.”

Mr. Jemal had heard rumors about the rowdy goings-on at Astor Place and off of Washington Square Park that likely led to his window getting cracked, but said he was unaware of the details. After hearing about the attack on Starbucks, he sought to distance himself from other corporate businesses. “This is not a standard powerhouse chain store. They’re all franchised to people like me,” he said, adding that the replacement window is “not cheap.”

So who is Mr. Jemal? The 29-year-old graduated from Rutgers with a degree in economics and owns two other 7-Elevens, one at 28th Street and Third Avenue, the other at 33rd and Madison. “I’m not part of the one percent, I can say that,” he joked.

IMG_3236Stephen Rex Brown A worker preparing the new window pane.

And would he serve the protesters who cracked the window?

“I would love to offer them a peace treaty Slurpee, if they’re open to it,” he said.

As for why the business is opening on St. Marks Place, the answer is pretty obvious. “We do pedestrian counts. The block is busy 24 hours a day, and we’re open 24 hours a day,” Mr. Jemal said. “A lot of research goes into it, and we love the area.”