7-Eleven is pulling out of Ottawa and with it goes the chain’s very affordable cellphone service, the Ottawa Citizen reported.
The chain sold all six of its Ottawa outlets to Quickie Convenience Stores, an Ottawa-based chain that operates 47 stores across Eastern Ontario and Western Quebec.
In a statement, 7-Eleven noted its intention to focus on larger markets.
Greg Ross, vice-president of Quickie, told the Ottawa Citizen the acquisition will strengthen his company’s position in its hometown.
Unfortunately, the move has left hundreds of cell phone customers with no way to buy more minutes for their phones. Through 7-Eleven’s discount pay-as-you-go SpeakOut plan, customers buy cards with a set amount of minutes that are good for a full year. Plans offered by competitors have minutes that expire in under a month.
SpeakOut customers can continue to buy minutes at 7-Elevens outside Ottawa or call to transfer their service to discount services Petro Canada Mobility or Good Wireless. But neither allows customers to carry over airtime beyond six months without a hefty fee.
Canadian c-stores are having a difficult time competing with big discount retailers and grocery stores, which are extending their hours and offer broader product selection, Barry Nabatian, general manager of research firm Market Research Corp. told the Ottawa Citizen. He noted that Quebec convenience stores are doing well because they can sell alcohol, which helps sales.
Nabatian said taking over the 7-Eleven stores makes sense for Quickie. Unlike 7-Eleven, which needed to have a truck come from Toronto or Montreal to bring in stock for just six stores, Quickie can use its large local supply network to run the stores at less cost.