Retail at the Landmark
7-Eleven, Tim Hortons, and No Thai!
by Sally Mitani
7-Eleven found out to its surprise that the students who live in the Landmark, the new student high-rise on the corner of Forest and South U, prefer fresh fruit and sandwiches to chips and candy bars. A few days after opening, said a clerk, they'd run out of fruit entirely. The rest of the fresh food was selling quickly too. "We have a hot food program--taquitos, pizza, hot dogs. They're all very good. All 7-Elevens have them," says franchise owner Rani Thuluri. This is Thuluri's first retail venture--her family's auto parts business tanked a few years ago. "I looked over all the franchises, and, in terms of how the business is structured, I liked 7-Eleven best."
Originally 7-Eleven was named for its long hours. In the nine-to-five 1940s, 7 a.m. until 11 p.m. was a madly daring experiment that succeeded (as did its next invention, the Slurpee). Now most 7-Eleven stores, including this one, are open twenty-four/seven.
No Thai! will eventually vacate its current South U spot to open next door to 7-Eleven. A sign in the window says "Jan. 2013--Okay, maybe not that soon."
Around the corner on the building's South U side, another Tim Hortons was preparing to open in early December. Sam Harris said he couldn't give much except the franchise owner's version of name, rank, and serial number. In fact, not even rank: he was unwilling to confirm he was the franchise owner. "Just say I'm the manager. I'm not trying to put you off. I just can't talk about it. I'll have corporate get back to you."
Harris also owns (or manages) several Cold Stone Creameries, including the one in Arborland. Cold Stone Creamery and Tim Hortons are corporate buddies: the website calls it a "co-branding" relationship, and Tim Hortons is notorious for playing its cards close to its chest when it comes to media relations. Corporate did not return calls.
Jack Klarich, owner of the Saline Tim Hortons, laughed when a reporter complained about how
difficult it was to get through to Tim Hortons corporate. He says Tim Hortons doesn't need to return calls: "Do you know how big they are in Canada? If you've got a Tim Hortons there, you're an instant millionaire. They got a long waiting list of people who want franchises. We're all waiting to see who gets the franchise for the one they're building in Tecumseh."
7-Eleven, 1300 South University (entrance on Forest), 997-7008. Daily 24 hours. www.7-eleven.com
Tim Hortons Cafe & Bake Shop, 1300 South University, 913-2653. Daily 24 hours. www.timhortons.com
[Originally published in January, 2013.]