By Darrell Mak
After 12 years of ownership, longtime Severna Park resident Bob Shewbridge has decided to sell his 7-11 store at the corner of Benfield and Jumpers Hole Roads to pursue other interests. What Shewbridge cherishes and will miss most are the friendships he developed with his employees and customers, something he repeatedly described as beautiful.
Ill miss the people, said a disappointed Shewbridge. There are a lot of great people in Severna Park.
For Shewbridge, it all started in 1999. He became tied of the corporate world, where he worked for 27 years and spent too much time away from home. I was never home, he recalled. Id sometimes be gone seven days a week.
Shewbridge decided he wanted to find something closer to home that would allow him time to continue community activities, including coaching the Green Hornets girls basketball team. He looked at a few local franchise stores in the area but nothing caught his fancy. Then, one day he saw that 7-11 and decided to walk in. He spoke to the owner and hammered out a deal two months later.
Having lived in Severna Park since 1973, Shewbridge either personally knew many of the stores customers or became good friends with those he didnt know. It was a beautiful thing to experience, he said.
Recently, after hearing Shewbridge was selling the store, a customer came to the store in tears and told Shewbridge her 11-year-old son liked the 7-11 store so much he did a report on it for his class. That shook me up a little bit, Shewbridge said proudly.
One of Shewbridges fondest memories was employing challenged students from special education programs a few hours every Monday. That was one of the best experiences I had working at the store, he said. Those children were special. Im still invited to their graduation and other events every year. We keep in touch they were very near and dear to my heart.
Shewbridge used the store to help support a variety of community programs. He routinely donated free Slurpee coupons to schools and churches as fund raisers. It cost me, but it was well worth it. I supported the community, and the community supported me when I needed it.
Although the details for selling the store have yet to be finalized, Shewbridge hopes to have a deal completed within the next couple months. Afterward, he plans to move on to a different type of work, perhaps sales or marketing on a lighter schedule, which would be a welcome relief after working upwards of 60 to 70 hours a week operating his 7-11 store.
Its a tough and very, very competitive business, he summed. Asked whether he would make the same choice if he had to do it all over again, Shewbridge had no hesitation. It was a great run. I would definitely do it again if I were younger. I was glad to have the opportunity and glad 7-11 gave me the opportunity.