SCOTTSDALE, Arizona -- Most of you know my pre-game routine for Wrigley Field games included a stop at the 7-11 at the corner of Addison and Sheffield. For many years this included getting a Super Big Gulp; when the Cubs finally said "no mas" to those, I bought a one-liter bottle of diet Coke to bring into the ballpark (you can bring in sealed bottles of any non-alcoholic drink).
That routine will be no more, as this 7-11 store is closing after today:
A convenience store relied on by Cubs fans and neighbors alike will close after Thursday, the latest shutter making way for the Addison & Clark development.
The 7-Eleven across from Wrigley Field, 3554 N. Sheffield Ave., has already started emptying shelves ahead of the closure, which an employee at the store confirmed Wednesday.
This 7-11 was run by a large extended family. The patriarch, a friendly white-haired man, got to recognize me because I was always there. I never learned his name nor he mine, but we exchanged greetings on a daily basis during homestands, and once he learned I liked to occasionally buy lottery tickets there, he'd always ask, "Lottery today?"
I don't know if this is still true today, but I heard a number of years ago that this particular 7-11 was the highest-grossing 7-11 in the world. This is not surprising given the location; huge Wrigley crowds 81 days a year gave it big business, plus its location half a block from an L stop made it a busy place even on non-game days. I'm not sure exactly how long that 7-11 had been there, though as noted above, at least three decades. Here's a photo of one of the previous occupants of that site, a gas station. That photo dates from the late 1930s and you can see the wrought iron that was on the side of the ballpark back then, a look now being restored.
The DNAinfo article I linked above says the next nearest 7-11 is at 3407 N. Halsted (at Roscoe), but there's also one at Waveland & Broadway, a little more than three blocks east of the Wrigley bleachers. When the Addison Park on Clark project is completed in a couple of years, there might be a 7-11 opening as part of the retail portion of that development, but that's by no means certain, and in any case if it does happen, I have heard it'll be run by a different franchisee.
I still don't know what I'll do to substitute for being able to get a relatively inexpensive drink before entering the ballpark. I might wind up bringing it from home.
The 7-11 visit has been part of my ballpark routine since the mid-1980s, and now will be no more. I will miss it. Tempus fugit.
Many thanks to Ariel Cheung of DNAinfo.com for her gracious permission to use her photo with this article.