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DETROIT -- 7-Eleven Inc. is slated to open three stores in Detroit's downtown business district by year's end. The stores will mark the convenience store chain's return to Motown after a nearly 20-year absence.
Stephen Oliver, regional development director for the Dallas-based retailer, confirmed previous reports about the company's plans to open area convenience stores to Crain's Detroit Business.
"Detroit's metro area is probably the largest market where we have stores, but we have no stores in the city," Oliver said at the Detroit Policy Conference today at MotorCity Casino Hotel. "So, our growth effort is to get back into the city."
The move into Detroit is part of the company's strategy to focus on "urban centers" across the country, Oliver added. More downtown activity creates an opportunity for the company to spur more businesses activity inside city limits, he said.
"We can be a precipice for growth," he told the news outlet. "Someone has to be first, we tend to be first, and people tend to follow."
Oliver explained the two main factors the company looks for in gauging a site's potential success are the number of pedestrians and density. The benchmark the company looks for in a potential convenience store site, he said, is for there to be more than 10,000 people within a quarter-mile walking distance of the storefront.
7-Eleven is in the process of negotiating four to six sites around the Renaissance Center and Comerica Park in Detroit. He told Crain's if all goes smoothly, there could be three stores operating by summer, but "the end of the year is probably more realistic."