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    Lagging Sales Lead To White Hen Closings

    New owner, 7-Eleven Inc., said its long-term vision is to "cross-pollinate" the chains.

    FOREST PARK, Ill. -- Nearly seven months after announcing its purchase of White Hen Pantry, 7-Eleven Inc. closed two White Hen locations here due to low sales volume, catching many residents off-guard, the Forest Park Review reported.

    In August last year, 7-Eleven agreed to purchase more than 200 White Hen stores in Chicago and Northwest Indiana. Recently, both of Forest Park's White Hen locations closed, and 7-Eleven has no plans for either property, the newspaper said.

    Meanwhile, 7-Eleven already has two stores in Forest Park, both of which are doing well, according to public relations director Margaret Chabris. Over the next few years, 7-Eleven will convert and franchise all the acquired White Hen stores to its brand, she said. "Our intent is to do what's in the best interest for consumers," Chabris told the Forest Park Review. "We want this to be a slow, methodical process."

    While some might argue that 7-Eleven and White Hen are essentially one in the same, Chabris acknowledged each for their own service. For example, she noted that White Hen coffee is preferred to 7-Eleven's, as proven by sales. And 7-Eleven, of course, is known for its Slurpee drinks. Both convenience stores offer express foodservice.

    7-Eleven's long-term vision, according to Chabris, is to cross-pollinate the chains in an attempt to offer the ultimate in convenience and customer satisfaction.

    The news of the White Hen store closings caught some Forest Park residents off-guard. Pam Sbarbaro, owner of Forest View Laundry located next door to one of the now-vacant White Hens, was surprised by the store's abrupt closure. "I was shocked," she said. "I just found out last week. There's no other store around here for people to go to."

    However, not everyone will be disappointed by the loss of White Hen, the newspaper reported. Local 7-Eleven franchisee Ravia Tanveer was pleased by the news, since it means a decrease in competition. "White Hen is our only competitor," Tanveer said. "The expansion of 7-Eleven in the Chicagoland area will be good for business."

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