Notice a lot of new 7-Eleven stores in South Florida lately? Well expect to see even more in the future.
7-Eleven is expanding in Broward, Palm Beach and Miami-Dade counties. The convenience store chain opened 57 new or remodeled stores in the tri-county area since 2010. There are 15 more stores set to open by the end of this year in South Florida, and 25 scheduled for 2013, said Grant Distel, 7-Eleven’s development director for real estate and franchising in the state.
“Florida has always been one of our key markets,” Distel said.
In late 2010, 7-Eleven Inc. announced plans to acquire 183 Exxon Mobil sites in Florida, which included five unused parcels. The retail spaces were in Orlando, Southwest Florida, Broward and Palm Beach counties. Most of those spaces have already been converted into full 7-Eleven stores, said Margaret Chabris, spokeswoman for the company.
“We took advantage to grow when the time was right,” Chabris said. “Real estate values have come down from where they were five years ago. We’re seeing a greater need for convenience and a demand for the services we sell.”
There are more than 148,000 convenience stores in the U.S., which is one per every 2,100 people, according to the National Association of Convenience Stores. That’s more than the amount of grocery stores, drug stores and dollar stores nationwide.
The company isn’t looking to expand in one county more than the other, Distel said.
But 7-Eleven also is expanding on the kind of retail spaces it is seeking. The company isn’t just opening free standing stores that sell gas in the suburban areas. More stores are opening in shopping plazas and more urban areas to target customers in all South Florida.
“We don’t do cookie-cutter store models,” Distel said. “When we target urban areas, there’s much more of a focus on grab-and-go ready foods, quick personal items and things people want to grab fast going to or from work.”
The inside of the stores are getting an upgrade, too. Most of the South Florida 7-Eleven locations are being refitted for an updated coffee bar section, which provides an easier experience for customers to find and pour their coffee. 7-Eleven’s new hot food bars are coming to South Florida stores, which sell on-the-go items like chicken tenders, wings, sliced pizza and tacos.
More convenience stores in the U.S. are looking to become restaurants that sell gas and some other products, according to the National Association of Convenience Stores. The average U.S. convenience store sells more than $250,000 a year in food services.