John Cádiz Klemack, Kristopher Li
One 7-Eleven store in La Cañada Flintridge is limited to selling mostly liquor. They want to include other choices in their shelves, but can't thanks to a city ordinance. So is a convenience store that sells mostly liquor really convenient? John Cádiz Klemack reports from La Cañada Flintridge for NBC4 News at 6 p.m. on June 1, 2012.
You won't the usual convenience store staples -- ATM, newspapers, milk -- at a La Cañada Flintridge 7-Eleven. But you will find plenty of booze.
"I did not expect to see this at all. I was kind of overwhelmed," said customer Denise Sznitko. "Where are the snacks?"
The location is allowed to carry Slurpee's, some candy and hot dogs, but that's as close as the location comes to providing what customers expect from the sign outside.
"You'll see a cabinet that's got some liquor in it, but every single shelf in here has alcohol on it, whether it's the refrigerator or even the dry goods area," said customer Kevin Grandalski.
The city of La Cañada Flintridge does not allow free-standing convenience stores unless they include a gas station, but there's no room for a pump at the location that is zoned for a liquor store.
"This isn't really a 7-Eleven. This is more of a liquor store, type of thing," said customer Shannon Cameron Seragusa. "They should change that, because those are things that people do need. It's better to have that than not."
The store has gathered 600 signatures in a petition meant to coax the city to change its mind, and zoning.
"It would be hard to get, and staff would probably recommend against it, and I don't think it would get approved," said Robert Stanley, La Cañada Flintridge Community Development.
The city said the store shouldn't be surprised by what the limitations on what they can sell. Officials said 7-Eleven knew what it was getting into.
"We had our city attorney review it," Stanley said. "Their attorneys went over it."
When the store opened a month ago, it opened as a full convenience store. That is, until the city came in and made them follow the ordinance.
"What they sold in terms of beer, wine, whatever, that's up to them," Stanley said.
Customers content that a convenience store without the convenience just isn't the same.