Despite recession, 7-Eleven is opening hundreds of new stores

Amid recessionary closings and dire, apocalyptic mutterings, 7-Eleven, the world's largest chain store, has announced plans to open 200 more locations this year. While the company is building across the country, its two biggest areas of expansion will be California and the New York metropolitan area.

Both areas are well-primed for this move. In New York, falling real-estate values have made long-term leases very attractive to landlords, and many have been eager to strike bargains with the company. In one case, a landlord who was previously charging $140 per square foot dropped his rate to $91. Also appealing, the chain's quality control ensures that the stores are clean and well-run, in stark contrast to many of the bodegas and corner delis that currently function as the city's informal food-distribution network.