(JTA) — Yoav Silberstein, 16, waited an hour and a half to get into 7-Eleven’s new flagship — and so far only — store in Israel. Located in the heart of Tel Aviv in Dizengoff Center, the store opening on Wednesday attracted throngs of mostly teenagers hoping to get a taste of America in the shape of a gallon-cup carbonated slushy called a Slurpee.
Silberstein was disappointed, though, to discover that the largest size on offer was a 650 ml (21 oz) cup. He has fond memories of Slurpees from visits with relatives in the United States, where the largest option is twice as big.
“I overheard people in the line calling it ‘barad,’” he said, using the Hebrew word for Israel’s version of slushies. “They have no idea about any of this.”
7-Eleven is the largest convenience store chain in the United States, with nearly 10,000 locations. But it is in some of its overseas markets where the chain really stands out — especially in Japan, where the more than 20,000 7-Elevens serve up everything from banking services to clothing essentials to high-end fresh and prepared foods. There, they can function as a person’s primary shopping destination.
With the store opening this week, Israel became the 19th country to welcome the megachain, and the first in the Middle East, after Electra Consumer Products inked a franchise deal in 2021. Thirty more stores are slated to open by the beginning of 2024; the company says several hundred will follow.
“It’s revolutionary,” Israel’s 7-Eleven CEO, Avinoam Ben-Mocha, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. “It’s more than a mini-market, it’s also a pizzeria, cafe and fast food restaurant all under one roof.”
The new stores will join more than 10,000 convenience stores already operating in Israel. In some big cities, including Tel Aviv, convenience stores that resemble New York’s bodegas can be found on every street corner, many of them open around the clock offering anything from cigarettes to diapers.
But the standard convenience stores known as makolets don’t serve coffee and hot food and are intended, like their American counterparts, for buying items in between larger shops at regular supermarkets. The am/pm chain of small-scale grocery stores gives off a 7-Eleven aesthetic but also does not serve fresh coffee or food. The closest things currently to a 7-Eleven in Israel are gas station stores that offer coffee and a range of sandwiches, salads and pastries, in addition to basic groceries.
At the new 7-Eleven, customers serve themselves Slurpees, Big Gulps and soft-serve ice cream (called American ice cream in Israel) as well as coffee from touchscreen machines that offer oat and soy milk alternatives at the same price. At 9 NIS ($2.60), the price is competitive locally but is still more than other 7-Elevens around the world, including the United States — reflecting Israel’s notoriously high cost of living.
In another innovation, the store’s cups have a barcode that allows customers to check themselves out. A mobile app, currently in a pilot phase, is meant to make it even easier for customers to grab and go.
Gabi Breier, one of only a few older customers at the store’s opening, hailed the self-serve, self-checkout policy.
“I’m walking around with this ice cream tub and wondering when someone is going to come and stop me and demand that I pay,” Breier said.
“It’s a new thing, this trust given to the customer. In the end, people will like it more than other places. It makes you feel like you’ve been invited.”
Asked if he thought an Israeli market might take advantage of this rare show of autonomy, Ben-Mocha was equanimous.
“Most of the kids here are getting it, but I’ve seen a few walk out of here with unpaid items and no one has stopped them,” he said. “But it’s part of the process and we’re on a learning curve too. Look, when you give the customer your trust, they will honor that.”
Israel has been an inhospitable home to some other foreign chains, notably Starbucks, which lasted less than two years before shutting its doors in 2003. Could the 7-Eleven venture be destined for the same fate?
“The problem with Starbucks was that they didn’t bother to understand the local taste profile,” Ben-Mocha said. “They just came with their own concept and tried to force it onto a market it wasn’t suited to.”
“Adapting to the local market is an inherent part of 7-Eleven’s DNA,” he said.
In Israel, that adaptation includes tweaks to the company’s signature operating hours — the “7” in the name refers to how many days per week the store is open — and to the way food is heated. The company initially said its Israeli stores would be closed on Shabbat, a requirement for food-service establishments that want to be certified as kosher. The Tel Aviv store’s fresh food is not kosher — it serves foods made with milk and with meat, heating them in the same ovens — but other branches will be, according to the company.
Out of around 2,000 products, just 80 are 7-Eleven branded products. Others reflect local tastes: Alongside 7-Eleven hot-food classics such as pizza, hot dogs and chicken nuggets, Israeli customers can also enjoy zaatar-and-spinach pastries and mini-schnitzels. In the candy aisle, American classics like Twizzlers and Mike and Ikes are juxtaposed with Israeli treats like fan favorite Krembo and Elite’s recently resurrected cow chocolate. And one striking import is that donuts will be sold year-round — a concept alien to Israelis, who typically only get to enjoy the fried dough confection when it’s sold around Hanukkah time.
It isn’t enough for everyone though.
“I hate this 7-Eleven, it’s totally fake,” said 16-year-old Moti Bar Joseph, who immigrated three years ago from the Bronx, in New York City. “It doesn’t have any of the real 7-Eleven feeling. There are no Lucky Charms, no Jolly Ranchers. It’s an Israeli bootleg version.”
Yuya Shimada, a Japanese national working in Tel Aviv, was more generous. Shimada came to the opening because he was familiar with the brand from his hometown of Nagoya. Asked if he was reminded of home, Shimada laughed. “No, not a bit. But this store is very stylish. I give it 8 out of 10.”
Asked whether his visit had been worth the wait, Silberstein, the teenager, said that it’s “always special to be first to something.”
He added, “But I stood four hours for the opening of the Lego store across the road so I’m probably not the right person to ask.”
The post Shalom, Slurpee: Israel gets its first 7-Eleven in convenience store chain’s planned wave appeared first on Jewish Telegraphic Agency.
Phyllis Pollock died at home Sunday September 3, 2023 in Winnipeg, after a courageous lifetime battle with cancer.
Phyllis was a mother of four: Gary (Laura), daughter Randi, Steven (deceased in 2010) (Karen), and Robert. Phyllis also had two grandchildren: Lauren and Quinn.
Born in Fort Frances, Ontario on February 7, 1939, Phyllis was an only child to Ruby and Alex Lerman. After graduating high school, Phyllis moved to Winnipeg where she married and later divorced Danny Pollock, the father of her children. She moved to Beverly Hills in 1971, where she raised her children.
Phyllis had a busy social life and lucrative real estate career that spanned over 50 years, including new home sales with CoastCo. Phyllis was the original sales agent for three buildings in Santa Monica, oceanfront: Sea Colony I, Sea Colony II, and Sea Colony. She was known as the Sea Colony Queen. She worked side by side with her daughter Randi for about 25 years – handling over 600 transactions, including sales and leases within the three phases of Sea Colony alone.
Phyllis had more energy than most people half her age. She loved entertaining, working in the real estate field, meeting new and interesting people everyday no matter where she went, and thrived on making new lifelong friends. Phyllis eventually moved to the Sea Colony in Santa Monica where she lived for many years before moving to Palm Desert, then Winnipeg.
After battling breast cancer four times in approximately 20 years, she developed metastatic Stage 4 lung cancer. Her long-time domestic partner of 27 years, Joseph Wilder, K.C., was the love of her life. They were never far apart. They traveled the world and went on many adventures during their relationship. During her treatment, Phyllis would say how much she missed work and seeing her clients. Joey demonstrated amazing strength, love, care, and compassion for Phyllis as her condition progressed. He was her rock and was by her side 24/7, making sure she had the best possible care. Joey’s son David was always there to support Phyllis and to make her smile. Joey’s other children, Sheri, Kenny, Joshua and wife Davina, were also a part of her life. His kids would Facetime Phyllis and include her during any of their important functions. Phyllis loved Joey’s children as if they were her own.
Thank you to all of her friends and family who were there to support her during these difficult times. Phyllis is now, finally, pain free and in a better place. She was loved dearly and will be greatly missed. Interment took place in Los Angeles.
Gwen Centre Creative Living Centre celebrates 35th anniversary
By BERNIE BELLAN Over 100 individuals gathered at the Gwen Secter Centre on Tuesday evening, July 18 – under the big top that serves as the venue for the summer series of outdoor concerts that is now in its third year at the centre.
The occasion was the celebration of the Gwen Secter Centre’s 35th anniversary. It was also an opportunity to honour the memory of Sophie Shinewald, who passed away at the age of 106 in 2019, but who, as recently as 2018, was still a regular attendee at the Gwen Secter Centre.
As Gwen Secter Executive Director Becky Chisick noted in her remarks to the audience, Sophie had been volunteering at the Gwen Secter Centre for years – answering the phone among other duties. Becky remarked that Sophie’s son, Ed Shinewald, had the phone number for the Gwen Secter Centre stored in his phone as “Mum’s work.”
Remarks were also delivered by Raquel Dancho, Member of Parliament for Kildonan-St. Paul, who was the only representative of any level of government in attendance. (How times have changed: I remember well the steadfast support the former Member of the Legislature for St. John’s, Gord Mackintosh, showed the Gwen Secter Centre when it was perilously close to being closed down. And, of course, for years, the area in which the Gwen Secter Centre is situated was represented by the late Saul Cherniack.)
Sophie Shinewald’s granddaughter, Alix (who flew in from Chicago), represented the Shinewald family at the event. (Her brother, Benjamin, who lives in Ottawa, wasn’t able to attend, but he sent a pre-recorded audio message that was played for the audience.)
Musical entertainment for the evening was provided by a group of talented singers, led by Julia Kroft. Following the concert, attendees headed inside to partake of a sumptuous assortment of pastries, all prepared by the Gwen Secter culinary staff. (And, despite my asking whether I could take a doggy bag home, I was turned down.)
Palestinian gunmen kill 4 Israelis in West Bank gas station
This is a developing story.
(JTA) — Palestinian gunmen killed four people and wounded four in a terror attack at a gas station near the West Bank settlement of Eli, the Israeli army reported.
An Israeli civilian returning fire at the scene of the attack on Tuesday killed one of the attackers, who emerged from a vehicle, and two others fled.
Kan, Israel’s public broadcaster, said one of those wounded was in serious condition. The gunmen, while in the vehicle, shot at a guard post at the entry to the settlement, and then continued to the gas station which is also the site of a snack bar. A nearby yeshiva went into lockdown.
Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant announced plans to convene a briefing with top security officials within hours of the attack. Kan reported that there were celebrations of the killing in major West Bank cities and in the Gaza Strip, initiated by terrorist groups Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Hamas said the shooting attack Tuesday was triggered by the Jenin raid.
The shooting comes as tensions intensify in the West Bank. A day earlier, Israeli troops raiding the city of Jenin to arrest accused terrorists killed five people.
The Biden administration spoke out over the weekend against Israel’s plans to build 4,000 new housing units for Jewish settlers in the West Bank. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also finalized plans to transfer West Bank building decisions to Bezalel Smotrich, the extremist who is the finance minister. Smotrich has said he wants to limit Palestinian building and expand settlement building.
Kan reported that the dead terrorist was a resident of a village, Urif, close to Huwara, the Palestinian town where terrorists killed two Israeli brothers driving through in February. Settlers retaliated by raiding the village and burning cars and buildings.
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