Nine Wilson Farms stores are changing banners this year, with the rest scheduled for rebranding next year.
Contractors are refurbishing; new signs are rising, and Slurpee machines are moving in as 7-Eleven Inc. undertakes the first of many equipment upgrades at Wilson Farms stores in western New York, converting them to the 7-Eleven banner.
Starting this month, the world’s largest convenience retailer is changing the brand and operation of nine Wilson Farms stores as a result of its acquisition of Wilson Farms Inc. and its 188 stores in New York last June. Seven already have been converted with most Wilson Farm locations to be rebranded next year.
Coinciding with these changes, 7-Eleven will invest in upgrading 10 of its existing stores in the Buffalo area this year. The specific costs for the conversions and upgrades are not disclosed.
“7-Eleven is making a significant, multi-million-dollar investment in western New York and has recommitted to serving the convenience needs of area residents,” said Mark Senay, 7-Eleven operations director and a Buffalo native and resident. “Our intent is to provide the best of both Wilson Farms and 7-Eleven stores for the benefit of our guests.”
Senay said Wilson Farms shoppers will still find the traditional grocery fill-in products, produce and f’real smoothies in the converted stores where these products were already offered. But they now can buy 7-Eleven’s proprietary Slurpee and Big Gulp beverages, and grill foods, like Big Bite hot dogs, taquitos and rollers. New coffee bars also are being installed with urns that maintain perfect temperatures.
Wilson Farm stores converting to 7–Eleven outlets will continue operating while undergoing changes.
The updated 7-Eleven stores will sport proprietary equipment for new coffee bars and fresh foods and will be treated to some repainting and power cleaning.
Both the updated 7-Eleven stores and converted Wilson Farms locations will have fresh foods – salads, fruit and sandwiches, and fresh bakery items delivered seven days a week. These stores also will start selling 7-Eleven’s hot foods— pizza, chicken wings and chicken tenders —later this year.
Three of the initial Wilson Farms that are converting will be run as company-operated training stores for the 120 Wilson Farms store personnel who will be managing and staffing newly converted locations.
“We have a comprehensive training program that covers everything from guest relations to the proprietary technology we use in the store, from brewing great coffee that’s always fresh to providing fresh foods every day,” Senay said. “What the Wilson Farms employees are really excited about is our 7-Eleven retail information system and retailer initiative approach that allow store personnel to know item-by-item what’s selling and to determine what they should order each day to satisfy the ever-changing needs of their own store’s customers.”
Companies supporting the daily delivery of fresh foods for 7-Eleven and converted Wilson Farms stores include Pine Hill Coffee Company and J. Mills Distributing Co. Inc., both of Orchard Park.
7-Eleven purchased Wilson Farms, Inc. and its assets from the WFI Group, led by Bruckmann, Rosser, Sherrill & Co., a private-equity firm, and the Nanula Family, which together managed the stores from 2005 to this past June.
Wilson Farms Stores – First Conversions
Training Store Locations:
533 Niagara St., Tonawanda – recently converted to 7-Eleven
1100 Southwestern Blvd., West Seneca – recently converted to 7-Eleven
755 Dick Road, Cheektowaga
Other Wilson Farms Locations to Convert This Year:
95 South Transit Road, Lockport – recently converted to 7-Eleven
741 Kenmore Road, Buffalo – recently converted to 7-Eleven
8109 Niagara Falls Blvd, Niagara Falls – recently converted to 7-Eleven
889 Beach Road, Cheektowaga
4938 William St., Lancaster – recently converted to 7-Eleven
5589 Transit Road, East Amherst – recently converted to 7-Eleven Oct. 10
7-Eleven Locations to be Updated in 2011
840 Maple, Williamsville
749 Sheridan Dr., Tonawanda
437 Davison Rd., Lockport
3550 Genesee St., Cheektowaga
2058 Delaware Ave., Buffalo
150 French Rd., Cheektowaga
2970 Union Rd., Cheektowaga
4340 S. Buffalo Rd., Orchard Park
6802 Buffalo Ave., Niagara Falls
7185 Boston State Rd., Hamburg