Testing Ground: 7-Eleven Opens Dallas’ Second ‘Lab’ Store in Lake Highlands

7-Eleven's fifth Evolution Store will serve as an experiential testing ground for patrons to try new concepts. Customers can expect the latest in shopping technology, new products, and larger-than-life murals inside and out.

Irving-headquartered 7-Eleven wants Lake Highlands to “wake up and smell the bean-to-cup coffee.”

The international convenience store has officially opened its newest 7-Eleven Evolution Store, an experiential testing ground for patrons to try new concepts, in the northeast Dallas neighborhood. It’s the second in North Texas and fifth in the country—7-Eleven also opened stores in New York City, Washington, DC, and San Diego earlier this year.

The Evolution Store is 7-Eleven’s foray into innovation. Described as a revolutionary store format, each spot is stocked with the retailer’s newest products and technology to see what sells.

[Photo: 7-Eleven]

The newest location on Walnut Hill Lane will build on the success of Dallas’ first Evolution Store at Sylvan | Thirty, according to 7-Eleven. Since opening last year, COO and Executive VP Chris Tanco said the team has learned a lot in terms of what convenience shoppers love.

“The Sylvan | Thirty store wildly exceeded our expectations, with sales three times what we originally projected,” he said in a statement. “We’ve learned what resonates with customers and already incorporated our learnings into new and existing 7-Eleven stores across the system.”

The Lake Highlands store will have many of the same features as Sylvan | Thirty.

[Photo: 7-Eleven]

That includes: an expanded self-serve bean-to-cup coffee and espresso bar with touch-screen ordering, baked cookies and croissants, a selection of domestic and international wines, a walk-in beer cooler, and a slew of organic better-for-you items.

[Photo: 7-Eleven]

Inside is the second Laredo Taco Company in Dallas, a South Texas-inspired restaurant known for its handmade tortillas and on-site salsa bar. 7-Eleven acquired the concept, along with Stripes convenience stores, in 2018 as part of a 1,000-store acquisition from Sunoco.

[Photo: 7-Eleven]

Digitally, 7-Eleven wanted to incorporate initiatives that enhance the shopping experience. Customers can skip the line and pay for non-age-restricted purchases on their smartphone with mobile checkout technology. Or, they can use the 7NOW delivery app to have items delivered to their door or available for pickup.

The store is also pretty recognizable by passersby.

Sprawled on the outside and in of the store is two murals by Mariell Guzman, a mixed-media painter and artist from Lake Highlands. 7-Eleven wanted to create a unique brand personality that goes beyond its traditional locations. Guzman drew from her Mexican heritage to paint a larger-than-life, bright design that reflects the energy of the neighborhood and is suitable for selfies.

[Photo: 7-Eleven]

“7-Eleven continues to push boundaries and try new solutions to answer customers’ needs,” Tanco said. “We have been ahead of the game with digital technology, specifically with contactless payments, home delivery and loyalty programs. That has proven particularly important now as we continue to navigate the pandemic. The shopping experience will never stop evolving, and we are laser-focused on our bright future serving customers.”

7-Eleven said that customers can anticipate more Evolution Stores to open in 2021.

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