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The Los Angeles Times reports that there are calls in Southern California to regulate the opening of convenience stores in South Los Angeles, which are an outgrowth of restrictions imposed last year on the opening of fast food restaurants in the neighborhood.

According to the story, “Motivated by new data focusing on convenience stores, civic activists and a City Council member favor limiting the development of new convenience stores. A study by Santa Monica think tank Rand Corp. published in the research journal Health Affairs last week said calories from snacks were a likely culprit of higher obesity rates in South Los Angeles. The authors also found that South Los Angeles had a dramatically higher concentration of the type of small convenience store that sells caloric snacks than other sections of the city.”

Margaret Chabris, spokeswoman for Dallas-based 7-Eleven, tells the Times that her company objects to the premise – and not just because 7-Eleven and other c-stores are moving to expand their fresh food sales. “Convenience stores, whether they be a 7-Eleven or other, provide needed products and services to communities, especially lower income or areas with high crime," she says. “Sometimes larger supermarkets won't venture into the tougher neighborhoods, but mom-and-pop stores, locally run convenience stores, will. They provide food, groceries, paper products, money orders, ATM services and over-the-counter medicine around the clock. They can also be a safe haven when someone on the street or in the neighborhood is in trouble and needs a place to go or make a phone call."

Coincidentally, the Detroit Free Press has a report about how 7-Eleven is testing in Dallas “a new plastic wrap developed by supplier Fresh Del Monte Produce to keep single bananas yellow and firm for five days - more than double the two-day shelf life for an unwrapped banana.

“If it's a success, 7-Eleven could roll out plastic-wrapped bananas to most of its 5,787 stores by early 2010. Fresh Del Monte created the wrap, which slows respiration by keeping most oxygen and moisture out. The bananas, green when wrapped, will ripen more slowly.”

Which could expand the company’s already considerable banana sales - it expects to sell more than 27 million bananas this year.
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