The people’s choice in convenience store poll reflects shifting OKC market

OnCue store under construction at Western and Edmond Road

When I saw this story in The Oklahoman that the OKC 7-Eleven franchise had sold to the much larger Irving, Texas-based 7-Eleven Inc., my first thought was that the emergence of OnCue in the OKC market prompted this transaction.

OnCue is the shiny new toy in the convenience store market, and people naturally gravitate to what is new, clean and offers a bigger selection. OnCue is all those things, and it seems to be building new stores in every neighborhood across the metro. There is even one set to open in just a few weeks at the intersection of Western and Edmond Road, right across from the neighborhood we live in.

I won’t embarrass myself by admitting how giddy I was when I first saw the sign more than a year ago that OnCue was going to build at that location. Ask my daughter.

I figure that the sale of the OKC 7-Eleven franchise is similar to newspaper owners who see where the publishing industry is headed and sell their property while it still has value. They get out while they can.

All of that prompted me to run a poll on Twitter, where I asked readers to vote on which was their “go-to” convenience store brand: 7-Eleven, OnCue, QuikTrip or Love’s Travel Stops/other. I figured it would be neck-and-neck between 7-Eleven and OnCue.

Turns out it wasn’t close.

OnCue lapped the field, claiming 58 percent of 189 votes. Compare that to the 19 percent that 7-Eleven received, a smaller share than what QuikTrip got, and it has no stores in the OKC area.

I wasn’t surprised that Love’s Travel Stops trailed the field because most of its stores are convenience stops for highway travelers across the nation. It is our family’s go-to stop when we hit the highway.

Anyway, I was quite surprised by how OnCue ran away with this unscientific poll. For decades, 7-Eleven has been the destination of choice for people who need a late-night six-pack or an early morning cup of Joe on their way to work.

But that’s where today’s market is headed, even if 7-Eleven has remodeled its local stores and is building in new locations. We’ll see if new ownership can impact the trend.

Meanwhile, we noticed there is a sign in an empty lot at the intersection of Western and Danforth, just north of our neighborhood. “Coming soon: 7-Eleven.”

Bring ‘em on.

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I'm an Oklahoma City-based freelance writer with interests in Oklahoma startup community, Apple Inc, OKC Thunder & Texas Rangers.

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