Most people who have driven in Texas by vehicle, whether on long trips or just traveling around town, are likely to be familiar with the concept of the “convenience store.” These are the gas stations that also carry food, drinks, and other necessities for the traveler or hometown resident. Merriam-Webster defines this type of business as, “A small, often franchised, market that is open long hours.” These are the places that are open 12 - 24 hours a day to make sure that customers can get what they need when they need it.
People who want to save time often buy from convenience stores because they’re…convenient. There’s no huge store to walk through, there are many items available, and usually there’s no big line to wait in. Folks can be in and out in five minutes, depending on their needs and the store’s merchandise. The prices may be a bit higher than bigger stores, but that can be a small price to pay to save a trip to a Big Box store.
The concept of a “mega” convenience store is well-illustrated by Buc-ees’s, which tends to be an automatic stop for those traveling long distances on the highways of Texas, as well as in four other states. When stopping at this mega-store, travelers can count on clean restrooms, plenty of homemade goodies, interesting home décor available for purchase, and tons of gas pumps. They can also count on difficulty finding a parking place, crowded stores, lines for the restrooms, and oftentimes, lines for gasoline.
Almost every convenience store in Grapevine is a regular gas and basic needs station. Some serve up pizza and a small menu of goodies. A new concept convenience store, which opened about a year ago, is giving the “normal” convenience store model a run for its money. Welcome to Texas Best Smokehouse.
Texas Best is a combination of a gas station, convenience store, and market. They also offer an automated car wash with hand detailing available, an Amazon delivery box, Tesla charging stations, a large selection of traditional convenience store items plus fresh produce, a market, homemade Texas goodies, like fudge, cheese, and beef jerky, a large beer and wine selection, and also a “food barn,” which contains Texas Best Smokehouse, Deli Select and Grill, Texas Best Coffee, and Wood Stone Pizza.
The man behind this new-to-Grapevine concept is Nasser Safa, who gives much credit for the store’s success to its father company, the Victron Group/Victron Energy, and its founder, Ali Sharaf, who has helped establish 10 stores throughout Texas. Visit the store in Grapevine, and if he is there, Safa can be seen shaking hands, chatting with, and helping customers.
Safa was working for Yum! Brands, which owns Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, and KFC, for about 10 years until his life changed due to meeting Sharaf.
“Victron is like my family. Unfortunately, [Sharaf] passed away over six years ago, but his legacy is continuing. His family has carried the torch, and they follow the same vision he developed. I think about him every day, and I still go by his rules for business.
“I feel that [Sharaf] is still here with me. I get emotional because he did not only help me be successful, but he also changed my life," Safa said.
Safa has used Sharaf’s model to make his business locations a success, which involves catering to the community in which the stores are located.
Safa found a 12-acre tract of land on the corner of Northwest Highway (Business 114) near Texan Trail and leased 3.3 acres for Texas Best, instead of building nearer to touristy Main Street.
“[This is] the perfect place for something like this. There are about 5,000 hotel rooms that are close and two golf courses, the mall, the lake, and [DFW] airport, so this has turned out to be a great location,” he said.
Safa has heard several customers call the store, “the fun place,” and has seen tourists return because they know that they can find what they are looking for when they're in the area.
The City of Grapevine has also been very supportive of Texas Best.
“I [appreciate] the City Council, the City Manager, and the mayor. They've been so supportive of the project. They didn’t want just another [regular convenience store] on that land, but when we showed them the plan, they loved it. We encourage local businesses to partner with us, so it will be mutually beneficial for our stores, our community, and our customers,” Safa said.
“[Ali Sharaf] taught me about the law of giving. You give, and the Lord, regardless of what religion you follow, will bless you. Always pay it forward.”
To learn more about Texas Best, visit https://texasbestofgrapevine.com/.
To learn more about Victron and Ali Sharaf, visit http://www.victrongroup.com/our-family/our-founder.