By Taylor Rexrode
Don’t think of it as losing an Arby’s. Think of it as gaining a 7-Eleven.
The world’s largest convenience retailer, with close to 49,500 stores around the world, will open a store across from Robinson Tower, an area once occupied by an Arby’s. Now it’s a pile of rubble.
The Arby’s on University Parks Drive and Interstate 35 was leveled in late February, allowing construction for the new 7-Eleven to start immediately. The store is expected to open in June, just in time for 7-Eleven’s 83rd birthday on July 11. In 1988, 7-Eleven sold 25 of its Central Texas locations to Circle K, an Arizona-based convenience retailer, which later stopped operations in Waco.
Ian Geddie, market manager for the Austin and Waco areas, said that the Waco economy has allowed 7-Eleven stores to come back and build more stores, including one near the Waco traffic circle off La Salle Avenue.
“We have a history of having served the Waco area,” Geddie said. “The current economic climate allows us to once again be an integral part of the local community. The company looks forward to being a part of Waco’s economic growth.”
With the opening of this new 7-Eleven near campus, students will have another option when it comes to filling up on gas. 7-Eleven locations also carry Donuts, pastries, hot dogs, coffee, fountain drinks and Slurpees along with milk, eggs, bread and other food items. This store will be less than one-fourth of a mile from three convenient stores on the north side of campus, including an on-campus Exxon Mobil Smart Stop as well as Chevron and Valero stations across Interstate 35. North Richland Hills junior Justin Wisniski predicts the 7-Eleven will be successful due to the opening of the new Baylor Stadium in the fall of 2014.
“I think it will do well,” Wisniski said. “It will be convenient since the stadium will be right there. And everyone loves Slurpees, so that won’t be too bad either.”
For Euless junior Megan Stewart, the price and convenience will determine whether she goes to the new 7-Eleven, she said.
“Gas stations on this side of the highway are really expensive, when I’ve noticed the ones across from the highway are normally 5 to 10 cents cheaper per gallon,” Stewart said. “I like 7-Eleven stores, and I’m really excited that there are going to be Slurpees. If 7-Eleven does what the others are doing price-wise, then I’ll probably go there.”
The Dallas-based company, best known for the Slurpee, a frozen flavored drink, and the Big Gulp, a 32-ounce soft drink, has expanded its reach in Central Texas and other areas of the U.S., opening more than 900 stores in the past year. Major areas of expansion include New York City, Baltimore, Salt Lake City, Portland, Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego.
7-Eleven’s marketing team has not made plans for any promotional events to bring in students to the new University Parks location, but Geddie said that the company “recognizes the importance of Baylor University to Waco and is committed to working with and supporting the school and community.”