Hartford convenience store says business plummeting after 24-hour permit denied

HARTFORD --  The general manager of the Shell station at the corner of Broad Street and Capitol Avenue in Hartford, said sales are down 35-40 percent since the city recently denied its 24-hour permit.

Since last Thursday, the convenience store and gas station has shut down from 11:30 p.m. to 5:15 a.m. Police said the overnight closure is meant to curb crime. They’ve denied 24-hour permits to several convenience stores around Hartford.

Police have responded to the Capitol & Broad Shell station roughly 80 times overnight in the past year.

“This is the police, they work for us to help us,” said Amir Orjani, the station’s general manager, who said police are often called for disturbances and other minor crimes. “So when I need them, I have to call them.”

Orjani said even with the overnight closure, he had to call police about six times the night it went into effect, because he said multiple people tried to get into the store after hours. On Monday morning, Orjani said he came into work to find a Pennsylvania family waiting for hours to fill up their empty gas tank.

“He [the husband] said I’ve been here since 3:30 a.m. out of gas, with two babies and my wife,” said Orjani.

The 7-Eleven location on Park Street in Hartford, said it is seeing an increase in business, thanks to other convenience stores closing overnight. The store remains open 24 hours.

“It’s better for us because we’re gaining their money, but it’s bad for their business,” said 7-Eleven employee Jenniffer Preletz.

Preletz said they see an average of 500-600 customers each night.

The New England Convenience Store & Energy Marketers Association released this statement to FOX 61:

“NECSEMA and its members understand the importance of public safety and the impact bad actors can have on a community. However, convenience stores provide an important service to people who have late schedules and depend on their availability. We just hope the authorities don’t allow one or two locations which require additional oversight to impact all convenience stores seeking 24 hour permits. We’ll be watching closely how this situation plays out.”

FOX61 also reached out to several city officials.

Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin released the following statement:

"I’m sensitive to the needs of any business operating in Hartford, but we also have to be sensitive to the recommendations police, and in some cases community members, have made for the sake of public safety. While certain extended hours renewals have been denied, we’re happy to work with individual business owners to determine if there’s some other accommodation that might help address both the business concerns and the safety concerns. The bottom line is that we’ve got to try to strike the right balance, and in some cases the balance tips against twenty-four hour establishments.”

City Councilman T.J. Clarke released the following statement:

“Hartford is a known food desert and we are very sensitive of these establishments being closed in areas where there’s little to no access to quality food. The City of Hartford should not be in the business of closing small businesses and limiting access to food. Revocation of permits should be reviewed on a case by case basis.”