FREMONT, Ohio — FriendShip Stores will enter new territory as it celebrates its milestone 70th anniversary.
The Fremont-based convenience store and fuel retailer will enter the Columbus, Ohio, market with the grand opening of the Lewis Center FriendShip Kitchen. A celebration will take place July 15-29. A ribbon-cutting ceremony will be held July 16 at 11 a.m. at the center, located along SR 23 South, at 45 Coal Bend Road.
The grand opening will feature special events, promotions, deals and giveaways. Free breakfast sandwiches will be provided for the first 100 visitors each day from July 15-17, and FriendShip's award-winning coffee and fountain beverages are free to all guests from July 15-29. Guests can register for drawings to win free gas or free FriendShip Famous Chicken dinners for a year.
"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. We operate, as always, under the guiding principle of treating customers like guests in our homes," said Brian Beck, co-owner and senior vice president of FriendShip.
"We are extremely proud to be an Ohio company, employing more than 400 of our fellow Ohioans. Our family has owned and operated the company for the past 70 years — with the fourth generation of Becks being prepared to lead the company for years to come — and we are especially excited to expand into a new community in Columbus," he added.
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, FriendShip is sticking to its expansion plans and committed to continued growth in the Columbus market, the company stated. Additional properties have already been purchased in the area, with plans for new stores within the next two years.
Established by Virgil Beck in 1950, Beck Suppliers Inc. is a fuel and lubricants distributor. The company opened its first c-store in 1986 under the FriendShip banner.
In 2018, it unveiled its next-generation FriendShip Kitchen concept and began rebranding existing stores and building new ones to reflect this model featuring 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.
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.