7-Eleven is Now Building Stores from Snap-Together Kits

Categories: Biz

Project_Frog_Seven Eleven.JPG
Project Frog
A 7-Eleven store in kit form being delivered to its current location on Greenville Avenue.
When my 3-year-old's first-ever soccer season wrapped up in October and we stopped making our biweekly trips to the fields at Harry Moss Park in Northeast Dallas, the southwest corner of Greenville Avenue and Meadow Road was empty. It was still empty in November, and at the beginning of December. But it's empty no longer.

The 7-Eleven that now occupies the corner was built in a mind-bogglingly fast five days from a kit that sounds a lot like something you'd get from Ikea.

Forbes describes the pieces in its January 21 issue:

On the corner of a congested Dallas intersection the umpteenth 7-Eleven is being built or, rather, assembled. The construction site consists of tidy stacks of flat-packed, prefabricated wall units, roof panels and other jumbo components trucked from Michigan and labeled and numbered like parts for a giant Ikea Akurum cabinet. What look like supersize bento boxes contain neatly packaged plastic bags of bolts, clips and other hardware. A pair of bathrooms, complete with toilet roll dispenser and baby-changing table, are being lowered by crane into the 3,000-square-foot store's shell, where they'll be plugged in to the plumbing.

The store is not from Ikea but from a San Francisco start-up called Project Frog. The company offers high-tech building kits for schools, stores and offices that can be easily assembled in a fraction of the time and half the cost of a traditional brick-and-mortar structure while offering greater energy efficiency. A recent $30 million investment from GE and a medical building in Hawaii for Kaiser Permanente have bolstered the company's hope of offering an alternative to typical construction methods.

I've left a message with 7-Eleven to see if prefab outlets are going to be a thing now. Nikki Tankursley, Project Frog's marketing director, says via email that "nothing is on the books yet" but that the company hopes so.

Update at 9:09 a.m.: From 7-Eleven spokeswoman Margaret Chabris:

It was a project started about a year ago by the head of our construction department who recently retired. It's too soon to tell what the benefits are and whether we will build more stores like it.

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Let's not act as if prefab is a new concept. The cruise industry has used it for years for passenger cabins, there's hotels that are being made the same way, prefab homes have been around for quite awhile....I can see the 7-11s of the world using them to great effect.

But hey, you got your not-at-all-dated Ikea jokes in.


Reading the Forbes article, I get the sense that this could be even more awesome in developing countries or for post-disaster reconstruction, at least for such essential services as medical facilities and schools. I do wonder how prefab compares to older constructions when it comes to *withstanding* disasters, however, especially ones like tornadoes and hurricanes.


Don't gas stations have to rip out and replace their gas tanks every so often, sometimes tearing down their current buildings to do so? If so, this probably makes even more sense for those 7-11 locations that sell gas.


Interesting.   Wonder if this might be an option to phase out some of the portable buildings in the DISD? 

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