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Thursday, April 25, 2013

3 Local 7-Elevens Shuttered

Source: The Columbus Dispatch
By Mary Vanac

Convenience-store and gas-station operator 7-Eleven Inc. is selling 139 of its locations nationwide, 11 of them in Ohio.

In an unrelated move, a Michigan 7-Eleven licensee has closed the chain's only three stores in Columbus.

The Japanese-owned convenience-store company is selling some recently acquired U.S. locations because the stores or their lots are too small and too costly to rebuild, said 7-Eleven spokeswoman Margaret Chabris.

"There are some terrific properties in this package that simply don't fit 7-Eleven's business model," Robbie Radant, 7-Eleven vice president of mergers and acquisitions, said in a written statement.

"All of these stores were part of the more than 1,000 sites we've acquired in the past three years and should provide great opportunities for the right buyers," Radant said.

The company has hired NRC Realty & Capital Advisors in Chicago to shop the stores to other owners.

Started in 1927 as a Dallas ice house, 7-Eleven licenses or franchises more than 10,000 stores in the United States and Canada, and nearly 50,000 stores in Asia, South America and Europe.

In 2011, 7-Eleven stores worldwide generated sales of $76.6 billion, the company said. Last month, it said it would rebrand 19 stores in northeastern Ohio as part of an acquisition from Lehigh Gas Corp. of Allentown, Pa.

One of the company's U.S. licensees, Garb-Ko Inc. in Saginaw, Mich., recently closed its two University District stores and one on the Northwest Side, leaving Columbus without a 7-Eleven.

"The three stores in Columbus were closed simply because we lost our lease and couldn't renew it," said Larry Hauck, Garb-Ko's marketing director. "So we had no choice but to close them."

A spokeswoman for Benderson Development Co., the Florida company that owns the three former 7-Eleven properties in Columbus, did not return a call seeking information about plans for the stores.

The Michigan company that operates 7-Eleven stores in Michigan and Indiana would have liked to keep its Columbus stores. "The last thing we wanted to do was close those three stores," Hauck said.

Might there be more 7-Elevens in Columbus down the line?

"It's a viable area," Hauck said. "There's nothing on the drawing board for new 7-Eleven stores. But I wouldn't be surprised if there will be."

To see a list of convenience stores for sale and gas stations for sale, click here.