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04/09/2021

Inside 7-Eleven's new Evolution Store in Texas

7-Eleven is redefining the c-store concept with a new Evolution Store featuring everything from handmade tortillas to a stocked Wine Cellar, artisan craft sodas and premium cigars in a cedar-lined humidor.

Located in Prosper, TX, this is 7-Eleven's seventh Evolution Store in the U.S. and it features famed tacos from Laredo Taco Company, the convenience retailer's taqueria. The convenience giant acquired it (along with Stripes convenience stores in South Texas) as part of a 1,000-store acquisition from Sunoco in 2018.

Each 7-Eleven Evolution Store is an experiential testing ground where customers can try and buy the retailer's latest innovations in a pioneering store format. 7-Eleven debuted its Evolution Store concept last year in New York City, Washington, D.C., San Diego and Dallas. The latest opening marks its it third to open in Texas this year, with with more planned nationwide in 2021.

"You have to visit an Evolution Store to experience just how much 7-Eleven continues to raise the bar on product quality, selection and the overall shopping experience," Chris Tanco, 7-Eleven executive vice president and chief operating officer, said in a release. "Evolution Stores and Laredo Taco Company taquerias have been game-changers for 7-Eleven, and we will continue to test and iterate to incorporate learnings into new and existing 7-Eleven stores across the system. We can't wait to see this location's new patio concept become a fun gathering place for Prosper residents."

 

Testing ground for innovation

 

All Evolution Stores include a restaurant concept, however no two locations are exactly alike. The company continues to fine-tune the design and offerings based on data gathered from customers feedback and shopping habits. Products and services are also customized to the communities and customers they serve: "The most popular features include self-serve specialty espresso coffee drinks, on-tap novelty beverages, cookies and croissants baked fresh in store, a wide selection of national brand skincare and makeup items, and the Wine Cellar and Beer Cooler, dedicated to an enhanced and expansive selection of wine and beer."

The Evolution Stores are a key testing ground for new drink concepts. Artisan craft sodas are popular, with flavours such as ginger beer, black cherry, pineapple coconut, diet key lime and diet cherry vanilla. Sparkling and still water flavours include, lemon ginger, strawberry rose, coconut lime, cucumber mint and mango. The store also offers smoothies and shakes, as well as customizable espresso drinks and cold brew coffee.

Skip the checkout

On the tech front, the new store is one of a growing number to offer mobile checkout and delivery. Members of the 7Rewards loyalty program can skip the checkout counter and pay for their purchases on their phone. In turn, the 7NOW delivery app also lets customers order products to be delivered straight to their door.

The company says safety is also top of mind with the new store: Efforts include, "enhanced its standards and procedures for hygiene, handwashing, sanitation, food handling and preparation in stores, including increased frequency of cleaning high-touch surfaces and self-serve food and beverage areas." In addition to masks and gloves for store associates, acrylic shields have been installed at checkout registers. Customers also have access to disposable gloves, tissues and sanitizer stations while shopping.

Based in Irving, Texas, 7-Eleven operates, franchises and/or licenses more than 72,800 stores in 17 countries, including more than 630 corporate-owned stores in Canada.

Canadian concept?

Norm Hower, VP and general manager of 7-Eleven Canada, says the Evolution Store will make its way to Canada, eventually, though not likely in 2021. 


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