It’s been several months since the world’s largest convenience store chain quietly returned to the Brownsville market, though now the signs are up and the secret is out.
Dallas-based 7-Eleven Inc. took over four Speedy Stops in the city as part of its acquisition of 143 Speedy Stops and Tiger Mart retail locations from Victoria-based C.L. Thomas Inc.
The deal, which closed Dec. 31., included Brownsville Speedy Stop locations at 1758 Boca Chica Blvd., 745 W. Elizabeth St., 865 N. Expressway and 1725 International Blvd.
“Angelina’s Tacos Caseros” replaces Tacos Frescos at some of those locations.
In all, 7-Eleven now has 14 franchise locations in the Rio Grande Valley, including three in Harlingen.
Company spokeswoman Margaret Chabris said 7-Eleven has no immediate plans to add more stores in the Valley, since it already has its hands full integrating its recent acquisitions, but is “always on the lookout for great locations in areas where we already do business.”
In announcing the deal last January, 7-Eleven Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Stan Reynolds said the company’s 2012 acquisitions would boost the number of locations in Texas from 342 to 700.
“We continue to build our presence in a rapidly growing area of the U.S., along the I-35 corridor from north of Dallas-Fort Worth to the Mexican border,” he said.
“Slurpee” (originally “Icee”) and “Big Gulp” are two of the chain’s most iconic products.
The company, which started in 1927 as Dallas ice house, is the world’s largest operator, franchiser and licenser of convenience stores, with more than 8,600 stores in the United States and Canada.
Of the company’s 7,700 U.S. locations, roughly 6,000 are franchises. There are more than 42,300 7-Eleven and related convenience stores in Australia, China, Denmark, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Norway, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Sweden, Taiwan and Thailand.
The company was No. 1 on Entrepreneur magazine’s “Top Global Franchises” list for 2013.
The company changed its name to “7-Eleven Inc.” from “Southland Corp.” in 1999.
In the late 1980s, Southland sold nearly 500 of its stores — including its Valley locations — to Circle K Corp. The Valley’s Circle K stores became “Stripes” in 2006.
While 7-Elevens were gone from the Valley, locations remained — and still remain — in Matamoros, Reynosa and elsewhere in Mexico.