7-Eleven's Southwest Florida Spread

Retailer plans about 40 additional stores in region in next five years

DALLAS -- 7-Eleven Inc. has added 38 stores across a five-county region in southwestern Florida since 2011, with plans for about 40 more in the next five years, Grant Distel, senior development director for 7-Eleven in Florida, told The News-Press.

"We have specifically targeted Southwest Florida for growth because we see a real opportunity there," Distel told the newspaper. "It is a very strong market, and our brand and our service is already well recognized."

Over the past two years, 7-Eleven has grown not only by building new stores but by partnering with franchise owners to convert other stores to the 7-Eleven brand and by opening stores in more nontraditional locations, including those without fuel pumps, said the report.

"Each of our stores is based on that specific site and we customize the merchandise for each store," Distel said.

For example, a store near a business center will feature a broader range of lunch options with sandwiches and fruit, while a store in a residential neighborhood will have more household goods and pet food. A beach store will be geared to snacks and drinks.

The stores range from 2,500 to 3,500 square feet and employ nine to 20 people, Distel said.

In addition to opening stores, 7-Eleven is looking to sell the franchises to about 50 existing, corporate-owned stores, the report said.

Franchise owner Massood Ali, 25, purchased his first Lee County store in June 2011 and now owns six locations stretching from Lehigh Acres to Cape Coral. Ali said his family owns 7-Eleven stores in New York, and he wanted to stay in the business.

"I saw the opportunity because 7-Eleven is growing so much in southwest Florida," Ali told the paper. "I expect to have more stores."

Click here to read the full News-Press report.

Based in Dallas, 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 2012, 7-Eleven stores generated total worldwide sales close to $84.8 billion.