Monday, January 15, 2024

Contributor Post: Additional "Lost Memphis" 7-Eleven Stores

Today's post highlights Shelby County, TN, retail.

Happy New Year, everyone! I hope 2024 is treating you well so far! 

I wasn't able to get a post out following my November Dyersburg Gordmans entry, so I hope you all had a great holiday season in-between then and now. As usual, I expect the blog to continue to stay fairly quiet during the coming few months due to my job, but I hope to return in the spring with some more new content. And today, kicking us off for the year, we've got some fresh vintage photos from our contributor, Mike B.!

Mike has provided content to the blog before on a few separate occasions, but perhaps most notable are his 7-Eleven photos and historical information. Mike has a large collection of photos of Mid-South gas stations, many of which are no longer standing or have long since changed affiliation. As more of a big box store documentarian myself, I find it fascinating to see these insights into a different aspect of retail photography and history, especially with the vintage imagery. The Sing Oil Blog has plenty of such photos and information as well, so if this sort of stuff interests you, I encourage you to check that site out!

Mike's previous 7-Eleven posts can be seen at the following links:
In a comment on one of those posts, a user asked if there was once a 7-Eleven on Rockcreek Parkway in Cordova. Mike responded that yes, there was, and sent in the below photo of the store:

Per Mike, 7-Eleven #16305 was located at 8245 Rockcreek Parkway in Cordova. This store was not a standard design (as you can probably tell!) and was part of the Countrywood Development. This store operated as an independent store for years after 7-11 left Memphis. The best part is that they never covered up the 1970's interior graphics package, which had a photo (among others) of a grandma and grandchild drinking a Slurpee together. 

Courtesy ClickAmericana

Mike shared this link, which has plenty of images of the 1970s interior decor, including the example above. The Rockcreek 7-Eleven has long since been demolished, and is now just an empty plat of land.

While searching for that Rockcreek store photo, Mike also came across a handful of additional "lost Memphis" 7-Elevens to share with us. Up first, located at 3815 Elvis Presley Blvd, this is former 7-Eleven #22144, which was renamed appropriately King Mart. Located almost directly across the street from Graceland, the land is now part of Graceland Property. It was demolished sometime in 2009, per Google Street View imagery.

Courtesy Richmond Times-Dispatch

Mike continues, I remember the 7-Eleven interior was gone, but there were remnants of both 7-Eleven and Mapco in plain sight when I visited. The most memorable thing was "The Works"- 7-Eleven's fresh toppings bar was still intact including a raised plastic sign - but instead of fresh toppings it had a few sad packs of ketchup laying around. I found the above image online of an example of what "The Works" looked like back in the day. 

This next picture takes us to Sam's Highland Street Market - Formerly located at 628 S. Highland in Memphis, this was at one time 7-Eleven # 12850 and is now the location of a McDonald's restaurant. This building was demolished sometime between 2015 and 2016. I remember seeing other Sam's Z Markets around the Memphis/DeSoto County area, but I'm not sure if any of them are still open today.

Just across the street from the former 7-Eleven on Highland is this other gas station, a BP-affiliated Circle K convenience store at the time Mike's image was taken, located at S. Highland and Southern Avenue. This station is still open, but is now Circle K-branded for its gas as well. 

We jump to Nashville for this final shot, showing what must have been an early Circle K gas and C-store combo location at 2200 Nolensville Road and Glenrose Avenue. Mike's comment on this and the previous image is that they were his attempts at Circle K art, with the big sandwich billboard in the first photo and the old Buick in this one. I like how both images turned out!

Circle K-branded gas stations are definitely taking over these days -- the Shell station that I grew up with on Commerce Street in Hernando is now strictly a Circle K, as are a number of formerly Shell-affiliated stations across DeSoto County. Even the Mapco in Olive Branch that I referenced back in Mike's second 7-Eleven post has since converted to Circle K. We have a number of Circle K-only stations here in the Jackson area as well, including one that I pass every morning on the way to work (incidentally, itself a former Sing Oil station!). 

It's always funny to me to see the "Easy Pay" price on the Circle K signs, as that makes me think of QVC's Easy Pay! Apparently the Circle K Easy Pay card is similar to any gas brand's credit card, except that it is connected to your debit account but can be used only for Circle K transactions with a specific PIN, therefore protecting your account. Seems like a useful concept, plus it can save you 10 cents per gallon as well. Maybe I should look into that one of these days...

Anyway, that's it for this post. I hope you enjoyed seeing more of Mike's photos -- thanks again to him for sharing those with us! As always, if you have any photos and/or posts you'd like to share, our inbox is always open for contributions at midsouthretailblog [at] gmail [dot] com. Until next time, thanks for reading, and have fun exploring the retail world wherever you are!

Retail Retell