April 03, 2014 // Franchising.com // Dallas/Detroit – More than 40 years since opening its first Detroit store and 11 since closing its last, 7-Eleven, Inc. is bringing back its brand of convenience retailing to the Motor City. Detroit native and new 7-Eleven franchise Robert Taylor will celebrate the grand opening of his new store at 2660 E. Jefferson Ave. Saturday, April 5, from 3 to 6 p.m.
Open to the public, the grand-opening event will bring music, sampling, discounted food and beverages, coupon giveaways and prizes to customers who visit the Rivertown District store. In addition to the three-hour party, Taylor is inviting his neighbors to toast the new store with one of his favorite 7-Eleven products, Slurpee® frozen carbonated beverages. During grand-opening hours, small-size Slurpee drinks and Big Bite® hot dogs will cost just 50 cents each.
The new Detroit 7-Eleven store may be a little different from the ones that residents remember from the 1980s and 1990s. Hot pizza, taquitos, chicken tenders and wings, introduced in stores more recently, are popular items among visitors to the neighborhood store, which opened its doors Feb. 17. Fresh-baked doughnuts and cookies, sandwiches, salads and fresh-cut fruit also are available. Value pricing for the doughnuts, two for $1, and a large, hot pizza at $5.55, have made both items big sellers.
"I'm selling pizza and doughnuts like you wouldn't believe!" Taylor said.
Of course, it wouldn't be a 7-Eleven store without Slurpee® frozen carbonated drinks and Big Bite® hot dogs, two of the retailers' most iconic products. Taylor said Coney-style hot dogs are big in his hometown, and people like the free chili, cheese and condiment bar to customize their Big Bite hot dogs.
The greater Detroit metropolitan area is considered the Slurpee capital of the U.S. because of the frozen drink's popularity with local citizens, a fact not lost on the retailer. 7-Eleven has created a Vernor's Ginger Ale Slurpee flavor that will only be available in its Michigan stores.
With two high schools within walking distance, Taylor said students stop by the store before school for breakfast or a hot drink and after school for Slurpee drinks and snacks.
"Students are a big part of my business," Taylor said," and I want them to feel safe and welcome here. I definitely see a big rush when school lets out. I have two entrances into my store, and they're coming in both of them."
The store includes a workstation for Detroit police officers to use while in the neighborhood, a fact that is communicated on signage on the store's doors. "The workstation is a great asset, not only for the store, but also for the neighborhood," Taylor said, "It makes everyone feel more comfortable."
Taylor is no newcomer to the fresh foods business. Before acquiring his 7-Eleven franchise, he worked in the marketing departments for other national quick-serve restaurants, and as a franchisee of a casual-dining restaurant. He holds a management and marketing degree from Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti. He said he happened to be at the right place at the right time when 7-Eleven moved back to town.
The store's employees were hired through Michigan Works Association, a workforce development program, and selected for their positive attitudes and hospitality skills. "I can teach them the nuts and bolts of running a store, but I was looking for the things that can't be taught," Taylor said. Each of my employees is a great people person."
Taylor already is planning to open a second store in Detroit's central business district soon.
7-Eleven, Inc. is the premier name and largest chain in the convenience retailing industry. Based in Dallas, Texas, 7-Eleven operates, franchises or licenses more than 10,300 7-Eleven® stores in North America. Globally, there are some 52,500 7-Eleven stores in 16 countries. During 2012, 7-Eleven stores generated total worldwide sales close to $84.8 billion. 7-Eleven has been honored by a number of companies and organizations recently. Accolades include: #2 on Franchise Times Top 200 Franchise Companies for 2013; #3 spot on Entrepreneur magazine's Franchise 500 list for 2012, and #3 in Forbes magazine's Top 20 Franchises to Start. 7-Eleven is No. 3 on Fast Company magazine's 2013 list of the "World's Top 10 Most Innovative Companies in Retail" and among the Top Veteran-Friendly Companies for 2013 by U.S. Veterans Magazine and on GI Jobs magazine's Top 100 Military Friendly Employers for 2014. Hispanic Magazine named 7-Eleven among its Hispanic Corporate Top 100 Companies that provide the most opportunities to Hispanics. 7-Eleven is franchising its stores in the U.S. and expanding through organic growth, acquisitions and its Business Conversion Program. Find out more online at www.7-Eleven.com.
SOURCE 7-Eleven, Inc.