E-Z Kwik, a retail mainstay on Coconut Groves 27th Avenue for more than 40 years, may be ending its storied run as a quick stop for generations.
The convenience stores neighbor, Flanigans Seafood Bar and Grill, purchased the property this week and plans to move its Big Daddys liquor store into the space, said Jimmy Flanigan, president of the family-run chain. Flanigans also will convert land around E-Z Kwik into overflow parking for the restaurant and bar, consistently one of the most crowded in the Grove.
Flanigan declined to provide a timetable for the move, and E-Z Kwik remains operating as it did before Tuesdays purchase. Though Flanigan said the new operation could include a deli and other offerings currently available at E-Z Kwik, the sale seems likely to retire one of the oldest names on the Groves famously fluid retail scene.
The Grove would not have been the Grove without E-Z Kwik, said Frank May, a political consultant in Coral Gables who grew up in Coconut Grove and estimates E-Z Kwik opened in the late 1960s. Literally, it was a landmark.
The E-Z Kwik brand was strong enough that when South Floridas Tom Thumb chain of convenience stores paid $1.2 million for the site in 1996, the owners opted to keep the name.
Known now for its canary-yellow awnings at the corner of Bird Avenue and 27th, the E-Z Kwik endured as the Grove evolved from a counter-culture enclave to the heart of Miami nightlife to a destination often seen as a step behind more popular entertainment spots like Coral Gables and South Miami.
Highway crews are in the process of widening 27th Avenue, a project that has already claimed the nearby Slice-n-Ice pizza stand. Miami-Dade also bought E-Z Kwiks street-side parking, a key amenity for a store depending on a high volume of small purchases.
EZ Kwik once enjoyed such a lock on Grove spending that it maintained a lobster tank in the store. Famed nature writer Marjory Stoneman Douglas reportedly launched her crusade to protect the Everglades in the late 1960s after being recruited by an activist in the E-Z Kwik a moment Stoneman fans still refer to as the grocery-store story.
When Haitis first democratically elected president, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, reached out to an ex-pat for a key military post, he placed a call to E-Z Kwik, where countryman Dany Toussaint was working as a cashier at the time.