Cleveland Rocks for 7-Eleven

Increasing presence by leasing, rebranding 19 c-stores from Lehigh Gas Partners

CLEVELAND -- The city that is home to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame is getting more 7-Elevens. Helping to solidify its footprint in the Cleveland area, 7-Eleven Inc. is leasing 19 convenience stores in that market from Lehigh Gas Partners LP.

As reported in a Raymond James/CSP Daily News Flash on Thursday, Lehigh Gas Partners will retain ownership of the 19 sites while 7-Eleven will rebrand the locations as 7-Eleven stores and manage the c-store operations.

The retail fuel business at the 15 stores in Cuyahoga County and four in Lorain County will continue to be owned and operated by Lehigh Gas-Ohio LLC, an entity managed by Joe Topper, chairman and CEO of Lehigh Gas Partners.

The effective date of the leases will vary, but all leases are expected to be in place by March 31, 2013.

"As the world leader in convenience retailing, 7-Eleven is a strong credit-rated tenant with a substantial balance sheet and a well-known global brand," Topper said. "Lehigh Gas Partners looks forward to working with 7-Eleven and is confident customers will benefit from the rebranding of these locations."

"We continue to look for opportunities to build our presence in Ohio through relationships with solid companies like Lehigh Gas Partners," said Stan Reynolds, 7-Eleven executive vice president and CFO. "This is only the beginning, and with this transaction, we will create a strong presence in Cleveland on which to build."

In October 2012, 7-Eleven purchased 67 Easy Trip and BP convenience stores in the Cleveland and Pittsburgh markets and the wholesale fuel-supply business that supports 20 dealer-operators from EZ Energy Ltd. It also acquired 58 7-Eleven stores also in Cleveland and Pittsburgh markets, as well as locations in northern West Virginia and western Maryland, from licensee Handee Marts Inc.

Dallas-based 7-Eleven operates, franchises or licenses more than 10,000 7-Eleven stores in North America. Globally, 7-Eleven has some 50,000 stores in 16 countries. During 2011, 7-Eleven stores generated total worldwide sales close to $76.6 billion.

Lehigh Gas Partners, Allentown, Pa., was formed to engage in the wholesale distribution of motor fuels and to own and lease real estate used in the retail distribution of motor fuels. Lehigh Gas Partners owns and leases sites located in nine states: Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Ohio, Florida, New York, Massachusetts, Kentucky, New Hampshire and Maine.