By Michael P. Walsh
Special to the Voice
Mayor Nancy R. Rossi cut a red ribbon Oct. 27 to mark the grand opening of New England’s first 7-Eleven restaurant complex in West Haven.
Rossi, sporting a pair of oversize scissors, was accompanied by a delegation of 7-Eleven developers and managers and city and state leaders to celebrate the new 5,635-square-foot complex, anchored by a gas station and two counter-service restaurants, on West Haven’s bustling Sawmill Road retail corridor, just off Interstate 95’s Exit 42.
Rossi, standing in front of the complex’s main entrance with developer Jed Hayes of project co-developer and landlord SullivanHayes of Farmington, issued a mayoral citation welcoming the 7-Eleven restaurant concept to 480 Sawmill Road, the former site of a Staples office supply store.
“We are delighted that 7-Eleven has selected West Haven’s Sawmill Road for its flagship dual-restaurant concept store,” said Rossi, reading the citation to the gathering of officials, moments before snipping the ribbon. “Our city’s business community continues to thrive and lead because we have great businesses and great owners.”
Hayes said, “We are so excited to open this first 7-Eleven dual-restaurant concept store in New England and are delighted to bring it to West Haven.”
The Staples site, formerly owned by West Haven Mall LLV, was demolished in 2021 after sitting vacant since 2006. The 3-acre property was purchased by Saw Mill WH LLC for $3.6 million in June 2021.
SullivanHayes chose West Haven’s Sawmill Road for a 7-Eleven development because of the area’s dense population and high visibility from I-95.
“Overall, the site really makes for the perfect convenience store location,” Hayes said. “It sits right along I-95 at an off-ramp with visibility to over 125,000 vehicles per day.”
Home to the Slurpee-brand of carbonated slushies, the 24-hour convenience store has 20 pumps that dispense 7-Eleven-brand fuel and two in-store restaurants that are owned and operated by 7-Eleven Inc. of Dallas: Laredo Taco Co., an authentic Mexican quick-service eatery, and Raise the Roost Chicken & Biscuits.
“This evolution store is the first location of its kind in the country to have both new restaurant concepts in a single location,” Hayes said.
The restaurants, offering made-to-order and grab-and-go options, are open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily and have seating for 36 customers.
Hayes said the complex has a 38-space parking lot and more than 40 employees.
The Sawmill Road 7-Eleven joins a long-standing 7-Eleven store at 1089 Campbell Ave.
Among the state and city leaders accompanying Rossi and speaking were Rep. Treneé McGee, D-West Haven, and Economic Development Commission Chairwoman Christine Gallo.
They were joined by Rossi Executive Assistant Louis P. Esposito Jr., city Planning and Zoning Commissioner Steven R. Mullins, and City Council members Victor M. Borras, D-8, Robert Bruneau, D-9, Gary Donovan, D-at large, and Colleen O’Connor, R-at large.
They were also joined by a contingent of area business officials, including Michael Moses, the president of the Milford Regional Chamber of Commerce, and Simon McDonald, the chamber’s director of membership and marketing.