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After some necessary renovations, the 7-Eleven convenience store, located on Northeast Georgia in Sweetwater, is hosting a grand opening.
On August 25, 2011, the store was hit by a storm with high winds, resulting in the roof being torn off. For around four months, the store was closed to completely repair the building. During that time, owner Alon Brands Retail took advantage of an opportunity to make a number of changes to emphasize the companyâ€™s renewed commitment to cleanliness, varied products and full inventories of the items customers look for most.
The convenience store re-opened its doors on Dec. 23, 2011, and since that time, has been working to ensure its customers enjoy the newly remodeled store and receive fast, friendly service.
This 7-Eleven is one of approximately 300 stores canvassing Texas, New Mexico and all the way up to the Oklahoma border. But within the area, the renovated store is among the more than 100 stores in the Abilene/Waco region.
Sweetwater 7-Eleven stores are owned and operated by Odessa-based Alon Brands Retail, a wholly owned subsidiary of Alon Brands in Dallas. Alon Brands is the largest licensee of 7-Eleven in North America, with approximately 300 stores located in Texas and New Mexico.
Company representatives noted that the store's remodel in Sweetwater â€” the only updated store in the area â€” represents the same blueprint being used in updating other 7-Eleven stores throughout the Alon Brands Retail operation. A number of other stores operated by Alon Brands Retail are slated for remodeling in towns like Colorado City and Anson.
"This is the store of the future," said Linda Witherspoon.
The new store boasts a smoother-flowing traffic pattern inside. The biggest update is a new coffee and fountain bar, which includes a variety of flavors as well as a new flavor of energy coffee â€” which are similar to energy shots. The central location of the coffee bar allows for quick access and easy use by customers.
In addition, a "beer cave" has been installed. This section only holds a variety of brands of beer, freeing shelf space for different brands of water and soft drinks.
Other new amenities include a roller grill inside the store, which can be used for hot dogs and egg rolls, along with a warmer for hamburgers, corn dogs, burritos and other DeliExpress food items.
But not everything has changed in the Sweetwater 7-Eleven stores. ATMs are still located inside each location, and each month, a new Slurpee flavor is introduced. Monthly specials are also always available on a number of items such as beer, cigarettes, chips, sodas and water.
During the grand opening celebration, 7-Eleven will have additional savings for customers, notably on their 7-Select products. Pastries and bagged candy are being sold with a "buy one, get one free" special, as well as the one-liter Ozarka bottled water.
Outside the store, customers can also fill up their vehicles on gas. Right now, the company is making its transition from the FINA to ALON, converting all retail outlets to the new ALON brand. This change is expected to be completed system-wide by the end of the third quarter of 2012.
Even in the midst of change, the Sweetwater 7-Eleven stores are striving to further enhance its clean stores and friendly service, allowing customers to grab what they need and get on their way.
Witherspoon stated that since its December reopening, their sales and business has grown.
"We're slowly, but surely, getting there," she said.