After a 30-year presence in the City of Trail the local 7-Eleven store on Victoria Avenue will be closing its doors June 20 and those who have grown up with the signature frozen “Slurpee” and bucket-sized servings of soft drinks may have something of a mourning period ahead.
However, concerns of losing the downtown core’s last remaining gas pumps and convenience store are unfounded in this case as the property owner, Chevron Canada, has no plans of leaving Trail any time soon.
“We’re not closing down,” said Adrien Byrne, spokesperson for Chevron Canada. “We have every intention of keeping it running. There may be a few changes like upgrading the fuel tanks and renovations to the building but we’re hoping to maintain the operation, especially during the peak summer driving season.”
For it’s service stations in B.C., typically Chevron owns the site and, in most cases, an independent retailer will handle the convenience store aspect of the operation. In some instances, though, the stations are run on a “marketer model” basis, where a larger retailer leases the site and uses Chevron products.
“We have preferred partners that we work with in many of our operations, the store in Trail is the last we have in B.C. with 7-Eleven,” said Byrne. “We’re looking for another preferred partner to take over the operation in June.”
“We have been informed that our lease will not be renewed at this site,” Laurie Smith, communications manager with 7-Eleven Canada, said in an email. “7-Eleven has been in the Trail community for 30 years and this was a popular store. We have experienced great support from the Trail community and hope to be back in the future to provide guests with our quality and convenience.”
As rumors began circulating late Tuesday afternoon regarding the closure of the 7-Eleven and faced with the possibility of downtown Trail losing its only gas station and 24-hour convenience store, the phone started ringing at the Lower Columbia Initiatives Corporation (LCIC), the economic development arm of the Lower Columbia Community Development Team Society (LCCDTS).
“I had long talks with a lot of people this morning,” Terry Van Horn, the coordinator for LCIC, said Wednesday. “When we found out the lease was up with 7-Eleven we were quite concerned. I talked to people at 7-Eleven Canada and Chevron Canada, we wanted to make sure there were no barriers to them continuing and offer any assistance we could to help make the transition smooth.”
In addition to the concerns about what the loss of the operation might mean to the economic health of the downtown core, Van Horn also had questions about the employees of the current store whose jobs would now be in question.
“I made it clear that we hoped there wouldn’t be job loss with the transition, we were hoping for a transfer of employees,” Van Horn said. “We didn’t get anything concrete but hopefully there’ll be an opportunity for some people to maintain their jobs.”
Chevron is just hoping to have the turnover of the operation occur with as few bumps as possible and keep the operation going through the transition.
“We understand and appreciate the situation our operations represent in the smaller towns and rural areas of B.C.,” said Byrne. “We’re interested in collaborating with the LCIC to know how we can do this as smoothly as possible.”