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Cutting through the commercial clutter

Jim Gustin purchased the 7-11 in south Keizer last year.

Of the Keizertimes

A convenience store is a convenience store, right?

Yet one is doing something a little different that cuts through the daily clutter of advertising and marketing.

The 7-11 store located at Cherry Avenue and River Road [MAP: 1] was bought by Jim Gustin, who had been working in construction. He bought it from John and Jane Hyder, who owned it for more than 20 years. They still own the 7-11 location at River Road and Lockhaven Drive.

Gustin has put his personal touch on the store via a small whiteboard placed just outside the front door. Typically used for marketing a current special, Gustin decided to do something different one day.

A simple “Remember: It’s Valentine’s Day” kicked off this trend.

Jim Gustin owns the 7-11 in south Keizer. (KEIZERTIMES/Jason Cox)

“The male population tends to forget this sometimes, and I thought I’d help the guys out,” he said.
But after that he started putting up, basically, whatever came to mind. A recent one read: “Sometimes it’s better to swallow your words than to eat them.”

Another one that got a lot of comments: “Do something for yourself today.”

They might come from his own imagination, books, quotes others suggested or something he found online. But what they have in common, he said, is that the messages give a break from the daily commercialism we drive by all the time.

“I get inundated by advertising; there’s so many signs up,” he said. “Obviously we need to do that as a business, but after a while you get numb to it all. I wanted to do something different – put some optimism out there.”

He’s thrilled to be running the store, and said it was the Hyders’ good stewardship of the store that led him to purchase that one in particular.

“I contacted 7-11 and theygave me a short list of stores in my area that were available,” he said. “I started taking a look at how they were run, their customer base, and I did a lot of secret shopping.”

He was impressed by the friendly nature of the staff and the store’s cleanliness, he said, which helped him decide to purchase it last August.

“The economy is what it is,” he said of his move out of the construction industry. “Jobs are tight, so I had to do something for myself.”

He’d never managed a store before, but figured that, between the Hyders’ experience and the expertise a national chain can offer, he’d do well.

“There are rules and regulations we have to follow, but we also have the ability to run the store as we see fit within the guidelines,” he said. “(The Hyders) set me up with a great store, a customer base, a great employee base. I was very fortunate, and I’m thankful for them.”