Howdy folks, let’s get started today by a simple recap of how 7-Eleven entered Houston (the second time). After exiting in the 1980s & 1990s, Houston was notably absent of most chain gas stations, including 7-Eleven and Circle K. Throughout the next 25 years this would be the norm, until 7-Eleven began exploring our town around 2012, with their purchase of Tetco and Speedy Stop locations, around the metropolitan area but not within city limits. Although they retained their original branding for a while, these were some of the first stores to reopen as 7-Eleven around 2015. A year later, Circle K announced their intent to purchase CST, who operated the Corner Store brand (formerly of Valero). This announcement immediately spurred the conversion of new Circle K locations, which were had started construction under CST. By late 2017, in what seemed like a move to makeup for lost ground, 7-Eleven announced the purchase of the Stripes chain, although some stores continue to operate under a licensing agreement. Despite this purchase, Houston would not receive our first 7-Eleven until early 2020 as new build locations. It seems that 7-Eleven has finally reached a point where they’re ready to consolidate their branding somewhat, as existing Stripes locations are now being converted. This happening all across town, although I’m unsure if all Stripes will be converted.
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That’s what I heard also, to emerge from bankruptcy, they just picked some entire markets (where they could find ready buyers) to sell off for quick cash. They also exited all of South Carolina,
“After exiting in the 1980s & 1990s, Houston was notably absent of most chain gas stations, including 7-Eleven and Circle K.”
Interesting bit from this entry, as I’ve got a bit of a background regarding this subject.
Over on the HAIF forums I posted years ago, in 2013, (before the Stripes purchase) about why 7-Eleven had left, and trying to them back to the Houston area:
“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 (brochures about stocks, internal publications, 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 convenience 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 definitely can remember those stores turning into Diamond Shamrocks.
The second story I’ve heard most often 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.”
I still have not found a concrete answer as to why they left originally, was curious if anyone on here had any insight.
Hey, I’m SpaceGhost on HAIF, and have been aware of your thread for years. It’s taken me a while, but what I’ve found is that 7-Eleven’s departure from Houston was directly linked with Southland’s impending bankruptcy. Southland had an easy time selling and sometimes spinning off their companies eg: Chief Auto Parts, Reddy Ice etc.. However, they seem to have had a more difficult time offloading C-Store divisions. I do know that Houston was not the only set of stores to be sold that year, but it was a major sale. I’m sure there had to have been a motivating factor, and employee fraud may have fit that, but the fact that NCS purchased the Houston stores and San Antonio stores nearly a year apart leads me to believe the real motivation for the sale was having a willing buyer.
Hey SpaceGhost, thanks for the reply. I remember you from the forums also! That answer seems fairly reasonable and is possibly the best I’ve heard to date, haha.