In the wee hours of the morning on Saturday, a strange combination of partiers, bar patrons and early morning workers encountered one another at the Montauk 7-Eleven—at the coffee station, in the snack aisle and lined up at the checkout line. Even at 4 a.m., the double doors were constantly swinging, producing questionable characters, sprightly 20-somethings and furrow-browed men getting their morning coffee.
In a nod to how things have changed in the once sleepy fishing village that has become well-known for its nightlife, two security guards stood watch at the front of the store as an eclectic mix of personalities moved past them with their goods. The uniformed men have been charged with the task of keeping their eye on things while the summer crowd, especially, flows in and out.
This is the Montauk 7-Eleven’s second year with security guards, according to Margaret Chabris, a spokeswoman for the chain.
The store opened in September 2010.
“They’re there to create an environment where people feel safer and to put pranksters on notice that someone is watching them,” she said.
While nothing went down that morning at the store, there has been some rowdy behavior this summer, according to one of the guards, Derrick Proctor.
“I caught one tipsy girl leaning over the counter taking candy,” he said, explaining that she was scooping it up for herself. “People come from the clubs—it’s jumping Friday through Sunday.”
Mr. Proctor, 26, said he works only nights at 7-Eleven, and Tuesday and Wednesday nights can be surprisingly crazy because some bars have specials on those nights.
“I haven’t seen too much craziness, though,” he said. “A lot of people come in for a bag of chips and walk around.”
Another security guard, who wanted to remain anonymous, said that guards had been hired to make sure no one walks off with merchandise and keep rowdy behavior at a minimum.
“All night long college kids come from bars all over,” he said. “They’re having their fun, they don’t mean it, it’s the alcohol. If they grab it, they pay for it.”
East Hampton Town Police Captain Michael Sarlo said there has been only one incident at the 7-Eleven in the past two summers.
According to a July 15 police report, a 25-year-old Hampton Bays man was arrested by East Hampton Town Police at 5:43 a.m. at the 7-Eleven and was charged with disorderly conduct, a violation. Police said he was drunk and taunting and yelling at customers as they exited the store. He had kicked over a beer display and became violent with customers earlier that night, according to the report.
“It does get a lot of volume—it’s the same crowd spilling out of bars going to Pizza Village,” Captain Sarlo said. “The managers felt hiring security guards would help maintain order. We’ve had no complaints down there late at night.”
He said police are in full patrol of that area overnight, in addition.
Mr. Proctor, a Mastic resident, said the store is like a magnet.
“It makes perfect sense. It’s the only store that’s open this late,” Mr. Proctor said. “It’s a gold mine for 7-Eleven.”