Tim Hortons Franchise Major Part Of Rochester Hills Gas Station Makeover.

Monday, November 17, 2014

A long-standing Rochester Hills gas station is about to get an overhaul, an update which will give residents and commuters through the city another option for morning coffee.

The Mobil station is at 2995 Walton Blvd., at Adams Road, adjacent to both Oakland University and the Village of Rochester Hills Owners of the 25-year-old station are planning to demolish it, reconfigure the gas pumps and add a Tim Hortons franchise with a drive-thru.

"The market is changing for gas stations, and you have to find partners to compete with "˜big-box"™ stations," said co-owner Sean Awdish.

The building will be greatly expanded, going from less than 1,000 square feet to more than 7,000 square feet during the renovation, which is expected to commence early next year and take four months to complete, weather permitting.

The owners plan to eliminate four of the station's 12 pumps and include the drive-thru around the back of the building. City Council President Greg Hooper, who also serves on the city's planning commission, said the owners"™ business model anticipates 80 percent of sales to come from the drive-thru.

The coffee shop, which is doors down from a McDonald's and a Burger King, is expected to be open 24 hours. It will feature seating for up to 19 customers and complimentary WiFi.

"You know students," Rochester Hills Mayor Bryan Barnett said. "Coffee and donuts will be pretty popular." Owners declined to reveal the cost of the project, but said the cost to update underground gasoline storage tanks and lines alone is estimated at more than $500,000.

Proximity to ever-expanding Oakland University played a role in the decision, owners said. The ability for customers to get gas and coffee in the same location was also a factor.

"It's all about convenience," Awdish said.

Co-owner Sarmad Awdish said traffic patterns in each direction along the heavily-traveled east-west corridor support the family's decision.

The family had been in discussion with another company about a franchise opportunity, but a relative's success with a Tim Hortons franchisee helped sway them.

"Tim Hortons was the strongest name in the U.S. market," Sean Awdish said. "We wanted to bring something fitting to Rochester Hills and they did the best job." The project will force the station to be closed during construction.

"We looked at staying open ... but we didn"™t want to take any chances," Awdish said. "We"™re making a large investment." The city council unanimously approved the plan at a Nov. 10 meeting.

"They"™re very excited because right now, it's an old, outdated station," he said.

The Awdish family owns five Mobil stations in the Rochester area and surrounding communities, including the station just east at Walton Boulevard and Livernois Road.

"We"™re not going anywhere," Sarmad Awdish said. "This is our home." The success of the renovation at Walton and Adams could determine if they seek franchise opportunities at other stations, Sean Awdish said.

The location is expected to be Tim Hortons"™ third in the city when completed, all of which have been built in the past two years. Another franchise of the Canadian coffee-maker is near completion at 2258 Crooks Road near M-59.

Tim Hortons"™ first location in the city is located at 940 Rochester Road, near Avon Road. The location's drive-thru line sometimes extends out to Rochester Road during peak traffic hours.

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