James Massey, the real estate manager for 7-Eleven in Texas, said the "C-store" giant has 270 locations in Dallas-Fort Worth right now and expects to open up 15 more spots by the end of the year.
Fast forward a few years, and the company plans to open up 75 shops across North Texas in the next three years. Massey said Dallas County will see its fair share of new locations, but people living in Rockwall, Collin and Denton counties can expect to see more stores around town.
But don't expect all the new 7-Eleven stores to have gas pumps. Some stores won't have gas available if space is limited.
"Consumptions of cigarettes is down, beer is about flat, and sodas have been declining or flat over the last several years, so if you want to grow your business, you have to do something else," Massey said.
Massey said the company has listened to customer demands and added more fresh food products, such as fruit and veggie trays, salads, along with bread and milk that is delivered daily.
But don't expect to see a big beer selection at all 7-Elevens. At the store's downtown location, surrounded by office buildings, only four cooler spaces are dedicated to beer and wine.
"People use the store differently downtown because they're on foot," Massey said. "They don't want to carry a case of beer back to their car or hotel or home."
Massey said each store monitors which products sell and which ones don't. Some stores will sell more beer, while others will sell more chips and coffee. If one product is doing better at the register, slower-moving products will get moved out for quick-selling items.
"We also introduce 20 new products a week, so if things come out, other things have to come in, and that's how we find out what the customers want," Massey said. "It's a low-cost way to find out what the customers do want. If they buy it, it stays. If they don't buy it, it doesn't stay."
7-Eleven makes 300 of its "7-Select" brand products from chips to cookies and sandwiches. The company plans to unveil a "Game Day Beer" in Texas, brewed in Wisconsin.
Tulsa-based QuikTrip has 76 stores in North Texas, and five more are under construction.
Mike Thornbrugh, a spokesman for QuikTrip, said the company plans to build and open up eight to 10 stores in North Texas per year. The company chose North Texas to expand because of the sheer size and the expectations that the DFW area will grow even bigger.
"There is a tremendous population base. People use their vehicles quite a bit, and they're thirsty, and they're hungry," Thornbrugh said. "As the population continues to grow in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, I mean, QuikTrip is going to build a lot more stores."
Thornbrugh said QuikTrip is so committed to expand in North Texas, they have a contract on a distribution plant in Midlothian to service their stores. The company already has a distribution hub in Colleyville.
Like 7-Eleven, Thornbrugh said QuikTrip customers have been asking for fresh options when it comes to food.
"The fresh-food market -- there's no question, that's where we're headed," he said. "We recognize it's going to take us a long time to do it the way we want to, but we're very patient."
"We're learning a little bit about what the word Twitter is and how you use it, but honestly, the best thing you can do is meet the expectation of that customer every day," he said.
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