At war with 7-Eleven? Start a 6-Twelve

Jonathan Wiggs/Globe Staff

In 1946, a convenience store chain in Texas decided to change its name to reflect its new extended hours, from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.

They called the stores 7-Eleven.

Seven decades later in South Boston, a man named Abu Musa opened a convenience store on East Broadway.


He called his store 6-Twelve.

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Yes, those are the store’s hours, but that’s not the only reason he named it 6-Twelve.

Mostly, Musa did it because he hates 7-Eleven.

In particular, he is at war with the 7-Eleven franchise on the other side of the street, a store he knows very well.

He used to own it. Now he wants to destroy it.


“My goal is to get them to close,” Musa says.

It is a twisted saga that involves personality clashes, corporate oversight, and expensive legal proceedings, and it first got nasty when Musa took a very particular opinion on a 7-Eleven product line.

He thinks 7-Eleven’s hot foods are kinda gross.

The hot dogs and taquitos were bad enough, he says. “They’d sit there on the rollers, no one would buy them, and every day I would throw out $200 to $300 worth of food that I had to pay for.”

But then, he says, the field consultant for the region forced him to become the first store in the area to start offering pizza and chicken wings. Not only that, Musa said he was told he’d have to pay for an employee to work the hot foods counter all the time.


Musa resisted. His clashes with the field consultant intensified. Musa says he was told he had no choice and had to take the pizza and chicken wings.

The decline in his relationship with 7-Eleven was devastating for Musa. He is a native of Bangladesh, and it had been his life’s dream to own his own business. When he opened the 7-Eleven franchise on the corner of K Street in 2005, in a building he shared with Jones Department Store — a South Boston icon that was known as Joneseez — he said everything went incredibly well.

But after about six years, a new field consultant came in, and, he says, everything disintegrated.

“7-Eleven didn’t treat me as a partner anymore,” Musa says. “They treated me as a slave.”

After the chicken and pizza food fight, things continued to get worse. He says he’d get written up for the slightest infractions. “The issue was I didn’t like him and he didn’t like me.”

Things came to a head in 2014 when 7-Eleven accused Musa of shady practices at his register — failing to ring in purchases, voiding others — and immediately revoked his franchise. Musa refused to leave the store, filed a countersuit, and the matter went to court.

Musa said he spent tens of thousands of dollars on legal fees before he says he was advised by a judge that he would never be able to out-lawyer 7-Eleven. So Musa said he accepted a settlement, which he would not disclose. 7-Eleven’s corporate office did not respond to an inquiry from the Globe about the disputes with Musa, but court records show that the case was settled by agreement of both parties in October 2014.

With the legal matter behind him, Musa reluctantly walked away from his store, and said he spent the next year doing nothing except getting depressed. Finally, he decided that wasn’t working, so instead he decided to get even.

Brian Donovan, who had been one of Musa’s regular customers at the 7-Eleven, can remember the exact moment he first saw Musa’s new store. He had just walked out of an optician’s shop and was walking up East Broadway getting used to his new glasses.

“Then I saw [Musa] out front of the new store, and I was like ‘That’s the guy from 7-Eleven. This store is called 6-Twelve. And my prescription must be wrong,’ ” he said.

“When I learned the story behind it, that he got cut from the 7-Eleven roster and started his own team, I thought it was the greatest thing I’ve ever heard — a gang fight over Ho Hos and lukewarm coffee.”

Musa said about half of his new customers are his old customers from 7-Eleven, people like Dave Duffley, who was in the 6-Twelve recently getting a 7-Eleven-sized fountain soda.

“I come here because of him,” he said of Musa. “He greets everyone with a smile, and this feels like an American success story. Corporate pushed him out, so he went right across the street and opened his own shop. What’s not to love?”

Business has been growing slowly, Musa says. He’s in a somewhat hidden spot — behind a large tree, on the site of the former Flood Square Hardware Store — and is just a few doors down from a convenience store called The Hub, a longtime staple of the neighborhood that is one of the top sellers of lottery tickets in the state.

But he’s trying strategies to attract particular corners of the local market. He carries a variety of snack foods from Ireland, things like Tayto chips and frozen bread from Pat the Baker. He also sells MBTA passes and is the only UPS Access Point on the eastern side of the neighborhood, allowing the young professionals who have moved to the area to have packages delivered to the store, avoiding missed drivers and stolen boxes.

But his focus is still on outmaneuvering 7-Eleven, and for that his strategy is simple.

“I know the price of everything in that store,” he says with a wry smile, “so I sell the same things cheaper.”

And then there’s what he doesn’t sell.

“No hot food,” he says. “Never.”

Billy Baker can be reached at Follow him at