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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- Six area 7-Eleven convenience stores are facing possible closure or debranding as part of an agreement between 7-Eleven Inc. and its licensee Garb-Ko Inc. Garb-Ko has operated several western Michigan 7-Eleven locations for decades.
According to a report by MLive.com, neither company is willing to talk specifics about the deal, but employees at the stores described it as a change of ownership. 7-Eleven Inc. spokeswoman Margaret Chabris confirmed that Garb-Ko "is closing several stores in the Grand Rapids area."
"Closing some stores is not unusual for a multi-site retailer and is part of the normal course of business," she added in an e-mail to the news outlet. Chabris said she did not know which stores will be shuttered.
Under the existing agreement, 7-Eleven licenses its trademark and business system to franchisees, who lease their buildings and equipment from Garb-Ko.
The 7-Eleven stores that may close are located at:
- 1001 W. Fulton St., Grand Rapids
- 876 Fuller Ave. NE, Grand Rapids
- 1349 Alpine Ave. NW, Grand Rapids
- 4429 Breton Road SE, Grand Rapids
- 1253 Burton St. SW, Wyoming, Mich.
- 2356 Porter St. SW, Wyoming
Meanwhile, three other area 7-Eleven stores will remain open and will be managed by the parent company instead of Garb-Ko, employees told the news outlet. These stores will temporarily close for a day next month for major renovations, such as new shelving and registers.
The stores that will remain open are located at:
- 4258 Alpine Ave NW, Comstock Park, Mich.
- 8570 Homestead Drive, Zeeland Park, Mich.
- 888 Forest Hill Ave. SE, Grand Rapids Township, Mich.
As CSNews Online previously reported, a lease renewal issue recently forced Garb-Ko to shut down its three convenience stores near The Ohio State University campus. At the time, Garb-Ko spokesperson Larry Hauck told Columbus Business First that the stores were performing well and it was not its idea to close them. Instead, Benderson Development Co. of Florida would not renew the leases, he said.
Regarding the closing of the western Michigan stores, Hauck declined to comment to MLive.com and referred questions to 7-Eleven Inc.
Saginaw, Mich.-based Garb-Ko is one of 7-Eleven's U.S. licensees and a franchisor of stores in Michigan, Indiana and Ohio. All but 17 of its 107 stores are located in Michigan.
Dallas-based 7-Eleven Inc. operates, franchises or licenses more than 10,110 7-Eleven stores in North America.