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    C-store Activity Heating Up in SW Florida

    7-Eleven and Wawa plan multi-store expansions starting next year.

    FORT MYERS, Fla. — The Sunshine State is drawing in convenience store retailers that plan to open multiple new stores starting next year.

    Dallas-based 7-Eleven Inc. will expand its Florida presence by opening 10 new stores in 2015, according to the Naples Daily News. The new 7-Eleven stores will open their doors in Naples, Fort Myers, Cape Coral and Port Charlotte.

    In April, the retailer also announced plans to turn 56 corporate-owned stores in southwest Florida into franchise locations. The state was one of the first outside of Texas where 7-Eleven began to expand, according to company officials.

    "We've already got an existing presence there, and we want to add more stores where we already have successful operations," said Margaret Chabris, spokeswoman for 7-Eleven.

    7-Eleven isn't the only c-store retailer focusing on Florida. Pennsylvania-based Wawa Inc. plans to open three stores in Lee County by spring and another six stores elsewhere in southwest Florida by 2017, as CSNews Online previously reported.

    "We looked across the entire country and we landed here," said Chris Gheysens, CEO and president of Wawa. "It's the right time to invest in Florida."

    Wawa will host a grand-opening ceremony for its first southwest Florida location on Dec. 18 in Bradenton. The event will include a "Finest vs. Bravest" hoagie-building contest and a performance by the Suncoast Mummers String Band of Bradenton.

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