Founder of Allsup’s Convenience Stores Dead at 84
CLOVIS, NM— The founder of the iconic chain of convenience stores scattered across west Texas and eastern New Mexico died Sunday in his home. Lonnie D. Allsup was 84.
Allsup began his entrepreneurial career after getting discharged from the U.S. Air Force following the Korean War. He founded Lonnie’s Drive-In Grocery in Roswell, New Mexico. His drive-in grocery concept was a predecessor to the modern convenience store, and it grew to 12 stores in three towns. The drive-in stores were sold to The Southland Corporation of Dallas, also known then as 7-11, in 1963.
Using the proceeds from that sale, Allsup and his wife, Barbara, and two sons Todd and Mark, relocated to Clovis, New Mexico where the family founded a new chain of convenience stores known today as Allsup’s. The chain grew from one Clovis location to 318 around the region.
Lonnie was a pioneer in convenience store operations. In 1967 he introduced the self-serve gas refueling pumps at his stores. Competitors thought he was crazy; no one would know how to refuel their own car! Gas stations were all full service back then. Texaco touted the expertise of its gas station attendants with a national ad campaign and slogan, “You can trust your car to the man who wears the star.”
Lonnie went the other way. Allsup’s inaugurated a training program for customers to learn how to gas-up their own vehicles and save. By the mid-1970s, the self-service gas pump was the standard across the country.
In his spare time, Lonnie raised cutting horses after being introduced to them by his father, Roy. He showed and trained the horses and made a name for himself on the amateur circuit. He served one full term as the president of the National Cutting Horse Association.
Allsup’s operates six stores in the San Angelo market, according to Allsups.com. San Angelo is only one of 160 cities and towns where an Allsup’s is located.
Lonnie and Barbara both grew up in Morton, Texas. The high school sweethearts were married in 1950. He attended Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene, and Texas Tech in Lubbock.
He is survived by his wife of 67 years, Barbara; son Mark (Jessica) Allsup of Fort Worth, five grandsons; Dwayne Allsup, Ian Allsup of Clovis, NM, Alex Allsup, Andrew Allsup, and Wyatt Allsup of Fort Worth, two great-grandchildren; Bonnie Kat and Silas Allsup of Clovis, New Mexico, sister-in-law; Pat Evans of Levelland, caregivers; Chuck and Suzanne Evans and their daughter; Lauren of Lubbock, Cassandra Evans of Santa Fe, New Mexico, and numerous nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his son; Todd Allsup, parents; Roy and Ellen Allsup, two brothers; Lloyd and Don, and three sisters; Cordie, Tressie, and Glenda.
His funeral is Wednesday, January 31, at the Faith Christian Church in Clovis. His family requests memorial contributions in his memory be made to Hardin-Simmons University, 2200 Hickory, Abilene, TX 79698, Tarleton State University, Box T-0260, Stephenville, TX 76402, or to a charity of your choice.
The funeral is arranged through Muffley Funeral Home in Clovis. See his official obituary here.