Chain celebrates 70th anniversary with expansion, with more to come,
DELAWARE, Ohio — FriendShip Stores is expanding into the Columbus, Ohio, market. The family-owned convenience, food and fuel retailer has opened the Lewis Center FriendShip Kitchen in Delaware, Ohio.
The new store marks the first foray into central Ohio.
The grand opening, from July 15 to July 29, also commemorates the Fremont, Ohio-based company’s 70 years of operation since its founding. It held a ribbon-cutting ceremony on July 16, with local dignitaries, including members of the fire and police departments.
The company was established in 1950 as Beck Suppliers Inc. to distribute fuel and lubricants to local farmers and businesses and launched its first convenience store in 1986 under the FriendShip banner. In 2018, the company unveiled its next-generation FriendShip Kitchen concept and began rebranding existing stores and building new ones to offer restaurant-quality food, convenience and fuel in a modern upscale retail environment. FriendShip Kitchen now accounts for nine of the company’s 27 stores along the shores of Lake Erie, from Toledo to Cleveland.
“We have evolved from our early beginnings as a gas station and convenience store that also sells food, to a welcoming environment that offers delicious food and great customer service as our primary objectives, yet continues to provide fuel and other convenient and staple products,” said Brian Beck, co-owner and senior vice president of FriendShip. “We operate, as always, under the guiding principle of treating customers like guests in our homes.”
Special events and promotions with deals and giveaways mark the company’s entry into this market. Customers can register for drawings to win free gas or free FriendShip Famous Chicken dinners for a year. The store will provide free breakfast sandwiches for the first 100 visitors each day from July 15-17, and FriendShip’s coffee and fountain beverages are free to all customers from July 15-29.
Despite the pandemic, FriendShip is sticking to its expansion plans and committed to continued growth in the Columbus market. It has already purchased additional properties in the area, with plans for new stores within the next two years.
The company distributes Marathon, Sunoco, BP, Shell and Valero motor fuels to independent retailers as well as to its company operated FriendShip and FriendShip Kitchen stores. Beck Suppliers also distributes propane and heating oil to thousands of Midwest homes and businesses. The company’s construction division specializes in the installation and removal of petroleum fueling systems as well as the installation, maintenance, support and operation of car washes.
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