Alon USA Left Wanting in Waco

Retailer eager but unable to reflag West Texas stores to 7-Eleven mark

Steve Dwyer, CSP Reporter

WACO, Texas -- Alon USA Energy is weighing its options on how to proceed with the branding strategy of several stores it owns and operates in Waco, Texas. According to Wednesday's Waco Tribune Herald, Alon USA spent $70 million last summer to acquire Skinny's Inc. and its 102 convenience stores, including several in Waco. It had intended to reflag them to 7-Eleven, but have been informed by the parent company that converting to 7-Eleven mark won't be allowed.

Dallas-based Alon USA enjoys a solid relationship with 7-Eleven, billing itself as the largest 7-Eleven licensee in the United [image-nocss] States. Blake Lewis, a spokesperson for Alon USA, told CSP Daily News that it was "continuing to evaluate business options for the Waco area Skinny's stores. Additionally, it's important that people know that Alon has been working closely with 7-Eleven, and they have been both interested in our success and supportive of our desire to find the best option for these stores, reflecting the great relationship that we enjoy with them."

The decision by 7-Eleven to not pursue a presence in Waco stems from its pullout from that city in 1988, when it sold the last of its 25 stores to chief competitor Circle K. The stores subsequently became Skinny's locations.

7-Eleven spokesperson Margaret Chabris told the Tribune Herald that the company is not inclined to return to Waco after retrenching from that market almost 20 years ago.

Chabris also told the newspaper that 7-Eleven, also based in Dallas, would prefer to focus on markets where it already has a vital presence, such as Dallas-Fort Worth and Austin, Texas; Chicago; Washington, D.C.; and Southern California. When contacted by CSP Daily News, Chabris was not available for additional comment.

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