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7-Eleven


TheGreenMeanie

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Hey guys, long time reader, first time poster here. Been a big fan of these forums for quite some time now, and thought maybe this would be a good source for a question I've had for a while -

Back when I was in high school (I went to Houston Sterling, by the way...not Baytown Sterling) we had to do a research paper on a corporation for one of our business classes. I decided to choose The Southland Corporation, owners of the 7-Eleven company, who changed their name in 1999. One thing that had always fascinated me was the fact that growing up, there were never any 7-Eleven's in the Houston area (I was born in 1984.) and I've always wondered why that is. I've been in contact with the 7-Eleven corporation for many years now in reference to this issue, but they despite getting yearly packets of information from them (brocures about stocks, internal publicatons, and other misc. paperwork) I've never heard an official reason as to why they've left. I am aware that the stores used to be in the city, as both being told by friends, family members, and other citizens of the city, and also by doing research on convience store buildings. Several former 7-Eleven locations can be located if you know what clues to look for. I've written a few articles about this, in fact.

These are the two strong reasons I've heard - one from the real estate side of business and one from stories and rumors from citizens of the city.

Real estate reasons I've heard was due to heavy competition with other gas stations in the area, most former 7-Eleven locations were sold off to Circle K (which then was sold to Diamond Shamrock, which was then sold off to Valero.) I can remember some Circle K's in my neighborhood, and I deffinately can remember those stores turning into Diamond Shamrocks.

The second story I've heard most offten is that the 7-Eleven corporation left the city due to a huge scandal involving employee fraud. Here's where it branches off - I've heard reasons vary from lottery fraud to rampant employee theft to a whole mess of other issues. I've searched newspaper articles and have NOT verified these as of yet, as I cannot find any mention of some kind of employee fraud going on, so I'm not too sure about this story, though I have heard several versions and variations of it from several citizens.

A few other things -

I have posted an online petition to get 7-Eleven to consider coming back to the city, which is located here: http://www.petitiononline.com/7112003/petition.html

That petiton has gotten an official response to me, from 7-Eleven Corporate headquarters:

"I found your petition on line regarding the lack of 7-Elevens in the Houston Area. I have forwarded it to corp. Real Estate. Im sure it will work its way up the corp. ladder.

Regards,

(name omitted)

7-Eleven, Inc.

Division Construction Manager"

Also, Wikipedia states the following:

"7-Eleven is also absent in several cities in Texas (Houston, Galveston, Beaumont, Corpus Christi, San Antonio (1989–2012) - 7-Elevens in these cities after 1988 (1989 for its San Antonio locations) were sold to National Convenience Stores, which owns the Stop & Go franchise,[36] later acquired by Diamond Shamrock in November 1995,[37] now part of Valero since 2006), even though the United States headquarters is based there.[38] As of 2012, 7-Eleven has no plans to re-enter Southeast Texas although Houston, TX-based Landmark Industries is dominant with their Timewise convenience stores which has over 200 locations, usually co-branded with a McDonald's and a major name-brand oil company."

Today I've come to you fellow forum members to see if we can finally figure out what the real reason for 7-Eleven's departure from the city of Houston is, and if we can put an exact date on when they disapeared. I'd also love to hear about your memories growing up with the stores in the city. Thanks for your time and attention!

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Interesting timing. It was just announced that 7-Eleven is opening two stores in Houston.

http://www.chron.com/business/article/7-Eleven-returning-to-Houston-4167820.php

As for the selling off of the Houston 7-Elevens, they went through some hard times and sold to Circle K to raise some cash. I have no idea if it is fraud related. I always thought it was related to the Texas recession and oil bust.

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I don't know when 7-Eleven left the area the first time, but it's coming back in Waco, and in Temple, there's an intersection with two 7-Elevens directly across the street (a small street, not a highway) from each other. One used to be a Mobil as of May 2011, apparently.

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One of them is going to be right down the street from me off Hwy 6 and Little York! I hear there is also going to be one off US 59.

I grew up in the Aldine area near I-45 and W Gulf Bank. There was a 7-11 at one time at Gulf Bank and I-45 (later became a Stop N Go). There were two U-tote-M's which latter became Circle K on Gulf Bank as well. One was at the corner of Gulf Bank and Airline. The other was at the corner of Gulf Bank and Cheswick (near Sweetwater). There was another one near West Rd if I'm not mistake. There was also a Stop N Go at W MT Houston and Sweetwater. I remember a lady worked in there in the 80s with a beard. She finally shaved it at one point. :D There were also Diamond Shamrock's (Sigmor Corner Store) in the area. I think there was just too much competition in the area. The increase in crime in the 90s might have also had something to do with it. There were a couple further south in Houston until a few years ago. I'm not sure why the closed, but I'm guessing for the same reasons. Hopefully they can be profitable this time around.

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  • 1 month later...

I don't know when 7-Eleven left the area the first time, but it's coming back in Waco, and in Temple, there's an intersection with two 7-Elevens directly across the street (a small street, not a highway) from each other. One used to be a Mobil as of May 2011, apparently.

 

Went that way recently in Temple and snapped pictures of those two across the street from each other.  The one on the bottom was previously a Mobil station, as mentioned.

post-873-0-59127300-1361046145.jpgpost-873-0-37196600-1361046168.jpg

Edited by 57Tbird
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  • 9 months later...

Back in 2011, 7-Eleven signed a business agreement with Cinemark Theatres where the Slurpee was sold outside 7-Eleven convenience stores after a litmus test was demonstrated in a DFW sports arena (AT&T Stadium, American Airlines Center) where 11 Cinemark locations were chosen - the Slurpee cups are maxed @ 32 ounces. The company recently purchased the CL Thomas assets (with the exception of 22 locations) in late 2012 where 13 locations in Corpus Christi, Victoria, Palacios were rebranded (CL Thomas ran the Speedy Stop stores in these cities and it also includes the Exxon Tigermarket locations in ATX which were rebranded during the summer). There are over 100+ ATX locations where 7-Eleven has a presence exc. for SH71/FM973 where a former Speedy Stop was rebadged as a TETCO. Also, if crossing over into Travis County on SH71, a former Fuelman (co-branded with Shell) was rebadged into a Circle K...

 

As of late 2013, former Speedy Stop locations in the Houston Metro area (with the exception of the 22 locations owned by CL Thomas still in service) have been rebadged as a TETCO but with 7-Eleven infrastructure and merchandise (w/o the private label products eg. Big Gulp, Slurpee)...

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UtoteM assets prior to the Circle K purchase in 1984 are now owned by Alimentation Couche-Tard (based in Montreal, Quebec, CA); Circle K is a division of said company along with ExxonMobil's On The Run located in Canada and the U.S. (the North Texas On The Runs exc. for the one in Ennis off Interstate 45 in the DFW Metroplex were acquired by 7-Eleven; the Houston-area On The Runs did not become Circle Ks - all of the locations were acquired by Landmark Industries (Timewise) with the exception of a few locations now badged as a Star Stop; some Timewise and Star Stop locations sell the ICEE)...

 

The Houston Metro area has been under a Slurpee drought between 1988-2011 (where Cinemark Theatres now market the Slurpee under a business agreement). Cinemark Theatres is the only way to purchase the Slurpee in H-town @ 10 locations (slurpee.com has the locations on the map)...

i'm waiting for UTotem to make a comeback again...lol

 

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There were at least a dozen UtoteMs in College Station-Bryan in the early 1970s. By the time Circle K took over, they were on the decline, and they made quick work to eliminate the old ones without gas pumps. As a result, by the time Circle K left, there were only three locations, all modern. Any of the former UtoteM stores still operating as convenience stores are sketchy and run-down.

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  • 1 month later...

Maybe I'm getting old, but I remember something of an agreement with 7-11, when the stores were bought by Houston based Stop N Go, they were not allowed to come back to Houston to compete against Stop N Go, unless Stop N Go ceased business. Circle K was given the same stipulation when it too was bought out by Stop N Go.

As I recall, that's why there were so many Stop N Gos in this city. The ones that weren't originally 7-11s, were old Circle Ks. I know for a fact Circle K didn't buy 7-11, it was Stop N Go. All of our 7-11s in the Heights, as well as those in Garden Oaks and Oak Forest, converted to Stop N Gos at the same time.

That is, with the exception of a few like the one on Bevis and W. 20th that went independent and became "Super Stop" or some derivative thereof. Circle K still existed in its own stores, then competing against the "new" Stop N Go chain.

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Is Stop N Go even around anymore? I mean, I've driven around in the Houston area and seen more of the same gas station brands in CS (Citgo, Shell, ExxonMobil, Valero, Chevron) and in terms of convenience stores, most of them were generic, except for "Timewise", which is the only common one I've seen.

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I don't think there are, IronTiger. 43rd & Rosslyn was one of the last holdouts, but it too has been rebranded in the last couple of years. As Tumbleweed said, most changed to Valero when Diamond Shamrock was bought out. When the DS branded gas was phased out at each location, so was the Stop N Go name.

UtoteM...there's a name I haven't heard in years. We used to hang out at the one on N. Main, next to Christ the King. Once we got bored with that, it was a quick walk down the street to Shipley's and Baby Giant. Such a simple time back then.

(I'm already in love with this place. So many memories being jogged. Thanks Haifers)

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I enjoy the memories, too ... many of them from a time before gas pumps could be found at convenience stores.  Or -- later -- fast-food outlets were co-located with gas stations.  Interesting how things have evolved.

 

As a little kid, UtoteM stores intrigued me because of their signs that were patterned after totem poles.  IIRC, they were controlled by the Melcher family, which still has real estate interests in Houston.

 

Also from my non-perfect memory, 7-11s disappeared sometime in the 70s, when locally based NCS went on an expansion spree with their Stop-n-Go stores.  Eventually, NCS sold them to Circle-K (out of Arizona), but that brand didn't stay here very long.  The disappearance of 7-11s here always seemed odd; I never heard of the fraud allegations, I just assumed that a Dallas-based company (7-11) decided not to try to compete with a Houston-based company (NCS) on their home turf.

 

All I remember about Valero is that is was formed when Oscar Wyatt got into trouble and his Coastal States Gas Corporation, based in Houston, was split up.  The HQ of the part that became Valero was put in San Antonio.  The other part (I forget the name) was absorbed into another company.  I wish Houston could have kept the Valero part, they have kept expanding and appear to be successful.

 

 

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There were a bunch of 7-Eleven stores in College Station-Bryan. They left in the early 1990s and sold everything to E-Z Mart, which kept the Slurpees and other stuff, at least when they first split off. Later on, the chain pulled out and the stores went to different owners.

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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 1 month later...

The Thompson family, whose father founded 7-Eleven, attempted to take the company private back in the late 80's.  They overspent and borrowed too much money at too high an interest rate.  They lost the company soon after.  The 7-Eleven franchisee in Japan bought the company out of bankruptcy.  Many locations were sold to help pay for the acquisition.  Houston was sold.  San Antonio was sold.  Much of Texas was sold.

 

The Japanese franchisee still owns 7-Eleven.  There are over 10,000 locations in north america and over 50,000 worldwide.  Just not in Houston...............yet.

 

7-Eleven has made multiple acquisitions in the last 5 years.  One of the biggest was Tetco out of San Antonio.  About 175 stores mainly in San Antonio, Austin and Dallas.  The CL Thomas acquisition was mainly in the Austin area.  7-Eleven also bought the wholesale gasoline department from Tetco and now sells gasoline to non-7-Eleven stores.  A lot of those customers are in Houston.  

 

Don't expect 7-Eleven to open any stores in the Houston area.  7-Eleven's main emphasis right now is fresh food.  Their stores get deliveries 7 days per week from their distribution centers.  Fresh sandwiches, salads, donuts, etc.  They need to have a concentration of stores in an area to make it profitable to open a distribution center to handle the fresh food.  If you see an announcement that 7-Eleven has bought out someone with 75 stores or more in Houston, then expect the Slurpees to return.

 

Also, 7-Eleven announced that they want to franchise all of their stores.  They company operate some stores, but only long enough to clean them up, convert them to a 7-Eleven and then franchise them.

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I am sitting here wondering why anyone would be hoping against hope that the 7-11 stores would return to Houston? We have one here in Smithville where I now live and there is nothing special about it. Their prices are high and the only time I visit it is to get a single item that I do not want to make a trip to the grocery store for. I could do that at any C store. If you have seen one C store, you have seen them all.

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You're right Michelle. Convenience stores are ALL alike. Same layout and same inventory of short shelf-life basic necessities. Only difference is the name. I'm also baffled that anyone would want more of them - especially more 7-11's.

 

They all charge ultra high prices for everything. It's the price we pay for their "convenience."  Personally I can't stand them, but there are times when I have to go to one near my home in east Texas because it's after hours or very early in the morning and my supermarket isn't open. I think that's one of the definitions of "necessary evil." Oh well.

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I agree that convenience stores are basically the same.  I'm more likely to go to a drugstore these days, since some are open 24 hours and have better selection of various stuff. :-)  But I do feel nostalgic for 7-11 stores and Qwik Trip stores (in Tulsa, OK), since I'd go to one of them when I was a kid to buy comicbooks and Slurpees. :-)

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Want something to drink?  Convenience store is the cheapest place to buy a fountain drink.  No contest.  A lot cheaper.  Most convenience stores are also cheap on milk and bread.  Want a slurpee?  Can't get one at a grocery store or a drug store.  Can't get fountain drinks there, either.  

 

All drug stores are the same.  All grocery stores are the same.  

 

Need a quick lunch and don't want to eat 2500 calories?  Most convenience stores have fresh made sandwiches.  I know for a fact that 7-Eleven has fresh sandwiches delivered to their stores every day.  

 

They must be doing something right.  The number of convenience stores is increasing throughout the nation and the number of grocery stores and drug stores is declining.  

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..........The number of convenience stores is increasing throughout the nation and the number of grocery stores and drug stores is declining.  

 

Not sure where you live, but here in Dallas/Fort Worth new drug stores and grocery stores continue to be built....along with new convenience store/gas stations.

 

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  • 1 month later...

   I suppose the original poster is long gone...  But I went to Houston Sterling.  Before the OP was born. :(

 

   I remember that 7-Eleven sold to Stop-N-Go...  Maybe even that they "traded" areas.

 

Was on a mini-haitus, actually. Glad to see this thread grew somewhat!

 

And when did you attend?

Edited by TheGreenMeanie
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All drug stores are the same. All grocery stores are the same.

Now, I'm not going to debate the subtle differentiations between CVS and Walgreens, but Fiesta is no Central Market.

The number of convenience stores is increasing throughout the nation and the number of grocery stores and drug stores is declining.

Uh--no. The convenience store rate is probably going faster than the grocery store rate, but it's probably always been that way.

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Now, I'm not going to debate the subtle differentiations between CVS and Walgreens, but Fiesta is no Central Market.

 

I got your back on this 100%.  The best analogy I can give is to compare retail to cars. Most people look at a car and can tell oh this is a Ford pickup, or Toyota Sedan etc, but for the most part people think of cars as all being pretty much the same. If you where to tell this to a car geek they would immediately go on a tirade about how their are multiple different types of cars, different heritage involved in the brands, some cars that where literally carbon copies of others just with badge changed.

 

The same can also be said about retail. Most people just see a store and think "Oh that's just a regular Walmart not a super center, I probably can't do all my grocery shopping there." However if you show a retail geek a store we can dissect the history of the store, what else it has been, and just about everything else in between.

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I got your back on this 100%.  The best analogy I can give is to compare retail to cars. Most people look at a car and can tell oh this is a Ford pickup, or Toyota Sedan etc, but for the most part people think of cars as all being pretty much the same. If you where to tell this to a car geek they would immediately go on a tirade about how their are multiple different types of cars, different heritage involved in the brands, some cars that where literally carbon copies of others just with badge changed.

 

The same can also be said about retail. Most people just see a store and think "Oh that's just a regular Walmart not a super center, I probably can't do all my grocery shopping there." However if you show a retail geek a store we can dissect the history of the store, what else it has been, and just about everything else in between.

When I was working at Village Foods (AppleTree until 2008, and yes, it was the next to last AppleTree ever, and yes, it maintains most of the original neon Safeway décor) I was shocked I had to explain to a co-worker the major differences between Walmart and H-E-B (our two main competitors)--and it takes a super-geek to go the extra mile and figure out what stores used to be what. B)

Edited by IronTiger
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  • 1 month later...

The local TETCO installed a real Slurpee machine, meaning that they are still intending on converting them completely. Last time I recall, there was still a Speedy Stop at TX 6 and 290. Is that still a SS, or did that convert to TETCO?

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  • 5 months later...
  • 1 month later...

Just stopped by the Tetco/Chevron on 249. They have Slurpees, Big Gulp, 7-Eleven hot dogs, coffee. etc. It's in the middle of being re-branded according to the clerk, but for all intents and purposes this is a 7-Eleven. 

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  • 4 months later...

Well thanks for the update JFive. Although someone interested really had to do some research based off the information you gave. LOL. Just messin with ya.

 

For anyone wanting to know the exact location and address and phone number:

 

18555 State Highway 249 Houston TX 77070

(281) 477-7561

 

Let's hope 7eleven doesn't change their mind on this one the same way they did about the Alvin and Sugarland locations.

Edited by scarface
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  • 2 months later...

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