The Birth of Convenience

Posted by    |    July 26th, 2010 at 8:03 am

In my last blog, I discussed the early days of retail and shopping in Dallas by describing the beginnings of our beloved Neiman Marcus, an event that set the stage for high-fashion retailing in the city and really helped paint an image of Dallas as a fashion-forward shopping mecca.

Today, I am swinging in a completely different retail direction.  If we were to follow a historical timeline of major events in Dallas retail history, this event follows the founding of Neiman Marcus, and it kicked off a completely new type of retail type and location:  the convenience store.

Yes, in 1927, 7-Eleven invented the convenience store right here in Dallas.  Here’s an excerpt from the company’s corporate web site:

“7-Eleven pioneered the convenience store concept way back in 1927 at the Southland Ice Company in Dallas, Texas. In addition to selling blocks of ice to refrigerate food, an enterprising ice dock employee began offering milk, bread and eggs on Sundays and evenings when grocery stores were closed. This new business idea produced satisfied customers and increased sales, and convenience retailing was born!  The company’s first convenience outlets were known as Tote’m stores since customers “toted” away their purchases, and some even sported genuine Alaskan totem poles in front. In 1946, Tote’m became 7-Eleven to reflect the stores’ new, extended hours – 7 a.m. until 11 p.m., seven days a week.”

The first convenience store, Dallas, Texas

From high-fashion, downtown, department store mammoth to high-convenience, “on the corner” stand-alone store, Dallas’ retail scene was becoming more diverse by the year.

I can’t wait until next time when we discuss the very first planned shopping center in the United States, located right here in Dallas!

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  1. Sarah Beauregard says:

    It’s hard to believe that this wasn’t that long ago and we’ve come so far in convenience. It’s crazy to think of what’s to come in the future!