Wednesday, December 5, 2007

New Looks for 7-Eleven in '67

The first four of these photos date from 1967, by which time 7-Eleven was beginning to vary their store appearance. The open front design was beginning to be phased out, and many of the existing open front stores underwent renovation to a more conventional window and door arrangement. This was ostensibly to allow the efficient use of newly-added air-conditioning units, but one could assume it was done to address security concerns as well.

Most of the new designs included some form of mansard roof with architectural shingles. Spanish tile was used to nice effect on selected Western and Florida area stores, and some even had cedar shake roofs. A very attractive colonial motif (complete with a rooftop cupola), pictured in the third photo, was implemented in a number of the company’s Eastern and Midwest markets, including Chicago.

I remember the colonial design well, and in at least one instance that I know of, Southland applied it to an entire shopping center, called (appropriately enough) "The Southland Center", which opened in late 1967 on Algonquin Road near the Wilke Road intersection in Rolling Meadows , a northwest suburb of Chicago. This center, in addition to having a 7-Eleven, housed a snack shop (which I remember much more than that particular 7-Eleven), a beauty shop, barber shop, and a number of other small stores. It had a two-story section in the middle, where Southland’s Chicago-area regional offices were housed. It still stands, but sadly the colonial fa├žade has been refaced with stucco (an all-too-common fate of 50’s and 60’s era shopping centers) in a style I like to call “yecch modern”. Hilariously, the cupola still exists as before. Southland, the 7-Eleven and all of their original tenants, like Elvis, have long since “left the building”.

The last photo is from 1968 and shows a sign with the company’s brand new logo, no doubt a very familiar sight to all because it's the same one in use today. Behind the sign is a Southland –owned “Midwest Farms” dairy truck, sporting the new image that Southland rolled out for all of its dairy divisions that year.
Update 7/17/10 - Thanks to AB for identifying the location of the Spanish-tiled store in the second photo - still operating as a 7-Eleven at the corner of Las Olas Boulevard and 16th Street in Fort Lauderdale, Florida!

20 comments:

  1. We still have any number of the old Colonial 7-Eleven buildings in Virginia, though remarkably few are still 7-Elevens.

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  2. The same is true in the Chicago area, as most of the Colonials were discarded when 7-Eleven began to go to mainly gas station-equipped stores. I would dare to say that most of the remaining Colonial Sevs in Virginia are probably in nicer shape than those that remain in Chicago.

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  3. I have only seen one (at least that i can remember) of the colonial Sevs here in Chicago and it is till there and located on Oakton near Milwaukee right across the street from a McDonald's. Too bad that one plaza you spoke of, Dave, is now "Yeech modern." Too funny. I burst out laughing when I read that.

    I actually really like the Spanish tile ones. Those are kind of funky. Too bad they were only in the warm climates.

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  4. I'm glad you liked it, Didi. It's about as descriptive as I can be using only two words! I just wish the style wasn't so popular, but we live in a stucco world, at least where old shopping centers are concerned.

    I totally agree on the Spanish tile look. Fortunately, at least it's still in widespread use in those parts of the country.

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  5. Three recently remade old stucco strip malls I can think of is Howard and Western. Late 60s shopping center that once had a Jewel, Walgreen's and Woolworth's. Jewel is long gone as is Woolworth's and now the facade switched from late 60s to Yeech modern. The second most recent one is Foster and Harlem another late 60s turned Yeech Modern. At least the Jewel is still there even though the Walgreen's built a new store and moved across the street. The third is a tiny strip mall on Crawford and Church street. It still has the old neon fifties sign (which I have a photo of) but the facade is now brand new Yeech.

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  6. sorry I'm a bit late to the party here...but interesting to note...7 11 has recently brought back their "oh Thank Heaven(for 7-11)" slogan. It was gone for years I beleive. I just noticed it a couple weeks ago.

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  7. we had one colonial one in my area...but most of them now are the brick ones

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  8. Pika23 - I've noticed the return of the slogan as well. About the colonial-look stores, NJ was one of the main target markets 7-Eleven used this design in.

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  9. well, the 7-eleven still stands at that center on algonquin near old wilke in rolling meadows, it is visible in google earth and even labeled as 7-eleven, I've been there a few times.... but yeah, that area has been through hell, but seems to be coming back now

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  10. Wow! I have never seen any 7-Elevens in the Portland area that bore such signs like that!

    When I first started memorizing 7-Elevens in Portland in 1986, they all appeared to use the 1968-up signage. Some stores had the 1968-style logo seen in neon.

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  11. Mario – Growing up in Chicago in the late 60’s/early 70’s, I can remember both 7-Eleven logos. They were pretty aggressive about replacing the old with the new, and by 1975 or so the old one was a pretty rare sight. You gotta admit, the 1968 logo has had incredible staying power. Thanks for commenting!

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  12. We have a few 7 Elevens here in Philadelphia that are of the Colonial design.

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  13. I know this is 2.5 years after you posted this, but I think I'm sure the second 7-Eleven you posted is one I've been to in Fort Lauderdale, on Las Olas Boulevard.

    Street view link: http://maps.google.com/maps?q=fort+lauderdale,+fl&ie=UTF8&hq=&hnear=Fort+Lauderdale,+Broward,+Florida&ll=26.119396,-80.127282&spn=0.005163,0.01354&z=17&layer=c&cbll=26.119398,-80.12718&panoid=_P8GGaTvyIqyll1LLfNsaw&cbp=12,326.53,,0,6.14

    The sign is even still partly intact. I'd be surprised if it wasn't this store.

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  14. MikeRA - There are still some Colonials around, especially where 7-Eleven has maintained a strong market presence. Thanks!

    AB - That's got to be the one - great eye! The slight offset on the roofline of the adjoining building confirms it. It's still "lookin' good"! I'll make a note on the post. Thanks so much!

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  15. I worked at that 7-11 on Algonquin and Wilke for about 10 days in the summer of 1968. I had just turned 19...I had appliled there and the Jewel in Rolling Meadows. 7-11 hired me and I took the job but I really wanted the job at Jewel which came about 10 days after I was working at 7-11. I didn't like the hours at 7-11 cause they were open till 11!! I did get the job at Jewel which I loved and worked there about 2 1/2 years. I have great memories of the people I worked with at Jewel!!!

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  16. SchindlerHaughtonJune 22, 2011 at 11:45 PM

    Those colonial designs are wannabe A&P Centennials

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  17. SchindlerHaughton- Colonial-style retail architecture was big in the late 60's - but A&P did have it first! ;)

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  18. 7-11, open 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. Wow, what a concept! I remember when the new 7-11 on 83 & Dempster opened in the latter mid-60's. Was attending Dempster Jr. High at the timer and it (7-11) was a frequent stop on the way home. Wow, where has the time gone!?

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  19. Mark - I attended (the late great) Dempster from 1975 to 1977. Remember Mr. Tofano, Mr. Rabattini and Mrs. Plambeck? No doubt we have a lot of overlap in our childhood retail experiences as well. Small world! :)

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  20. In Tempe, Arizona there is a store with the pre-1968 logo still in existence as of August 12, 2013. Hasn't been totally scrubbed yet!

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