Anyone familiar with the West Texas convenience store Allsup’s will already know what this story is about.
“Yeah, everybody loves Allsup’s burritos,” says Dawn Staggs, an Allsup’s store manager in Crane, a small oil and gas community 30 miles south of Odessa.
If there was a Mount Rushmore of Texas snacks, the Allsup’s deep-fried beef-and-bean burrito would be on it. Staggs sells more of them than anything else in the store, by a long shot.
“There’s 72 in a box,” Staggs says. “Sometimes we go through, like, 10 a day, so that’s like 700 burritos.”
Some people who don’t live near an Allsup’s travel to her store just to stock up on burritos.
“I had a couple that came from Dallas and they bought a frozen box of burritos. … They bought the whole 72 count,” Staggs says.
Allsup’s has been family-owned for over 60 years, but earlier this week, the company announced that it would sell all of its roughly 300 locations to a company out of Iowa called Yesway. That means changes could come, which has caused some customers to panic.
“Oh, there’s definite anxiety,” says James Decker, a lawyer and the mayor of Stamford, 40 miles north of Abilene. “When that news all came down – I guess that was Tuesday – I was busy with a couple law projects, and I had, like, 10 different people tweet me or text me or send me a Facebook message like, ‘Oh my gosh! What’s happening?!’”
Decker is more evangelist than mere customer when it comes to Allsup’s. Take, for example, his wedding, for which he ordered about 175 Allsup’s burritos.
“For the late-night wedding reception to give to our guests at the end of the event,” he says.
That’s an extreme example, but nonetheless indicative of the kind of devotion West Texans have for this store, and its deep-fried treats. Many Allsup’s are the only 24-hour store in their area. If you need a late-night burrito, an early morning corn dog, a midday cup of coffee, Allsup’s is there, always has been, for a lot of folks.
“Allsup’s is … it’s a metaphor for West Texas, in general: it’s utilitarian. The store may not always be much too look at, but you get in, get out, get what you need. You know they’re going to have food, you know they’re going to have a drink fountain. It is exactly what convenience store food should be,” Decker says.
And customers hope it remains that way, even through this sale. Decker is cautiously optimistic that it will. There are still some details to finalize, but in the press release announcing the deal, Yesway CEO Tom Trkla said that he’s looking forward to offering Allsup’s customers many of the products they know and love, including “without question – the world-famous Allsup’s burrito.”