Niagara Gazette

April 20, 2013

LETTERS FROM THE ISLAND: Pair of businesses still not feeling it on Love Road

By Doug and Polly Smith
Niagara Gazette

Niagara Gazette — Dear Mainland Feud-Followers — To the drive-by observer, it appears as if a truce has been called in the feud between 7-Eleven’s Hatfields and Say Cheese Pizza’s McCoys. The “spite fence” between these Love Road mall merchants is gone. But stay tuned for further developments.

Almost ever since we’ve been here, various enterprises have peacefully co-existed in the two plain buildings just west of the Beaver Island parkway. One was single-use, groceries, basically, Wilson Farms, now 7-Eleven. The easterly structure housed a Leader Drug Store once, along with a barber shop (remember them?), a women’s gym, a liquor store. One parking lot seemed to serve them all.

Say Cheese, a/k/a Comix Café, changed the dynamic. Originally mostly stop-and-go for pizza takeout and delivery, it yeasted into an enormously popular sports bar, with vehicles, pickups predominating, parked willy-nilly for hours many nights. It’s not our style but three cheers to anyone who succeeds in business out here.

The little complex has three entrances — from the east to Say Cheese, from the west to the 7-Eleven and in the center, serving both. The folks who own the Say Cheese side have rights to the lot, right up to 7-Eleven’s side wall, so anybody coming in the center for a quick stop at 7-Eleven is, in theory, trespassing.

The lot is a mess. Some of the potholes qualify as tourist attractions. The folks at Say Cheese hold 7-Eleven at least partially responsible, since 7-Eleven customers drive through two of the three entrances on the Say Cheese side. They want 7-Eleven to help fund the paving. Owned by overseas interests, 7-Eleven responds, “Who, us? You serious?”

The fence, with the town’s blessing, stood to bar 7-Eleven customers from entering through Say Cheese property, although oft-times it took Gran Prix skills to run the slalom through the pickups. Mostly at issue was the center entrance, right up to 7-Eleven’s door.

Now we have it on good authority, Say Cheese plans a wall, upping the ante from the room-divider recently in place up. Next, a customs booth?

Until now, we’ve sided with 7-Eleven. We wouldn’t dream of demanding that neighbors help to pave our driveway, so where does Say Cheese get off? But we got an insight into the frustrations of dealing with 7-Eleven last week when a clerk, considering the three cans Doug was returning, told him he’d have to go home and wash them out to get his 15 cents. She was very cheerful, but we’ve never encountered this requirement anywhere, except for one tiny deli in Manhattan.

Bottle Junction, here we come, or one of those downstate centers that redeems six cents, not five. We find ourselves 7-Elevening less and less. It’s a mini-matter; we can’t imagine protests of “Mister Comix, tear down that wall!” but it’s what passes for conflict on our “barrier” Island.

Come visit. Park carefully.

Polly and Doug

P.S. If you’re looking for ANYBODY over here Monday evening, you’ll likely find them at the Lions’ annual spaghetti dinner, fundraiser for their special-kids picnic, serving 5 to 8 at the Holiday Inn. We’re envisioning separate tables for 7-Eleven and Say Cheese.

Contact Polly and Doug by email at pollyndoug@hotmail.com.