Way back in 1927, an employee of the Southland Ice Company in Dallas, Texas, starting selling such grocery items as eggs, milk and bread, from the company’s ice dock. In less time than it takes to say 7-11, the convenience store was born, and named for the hours it was open: 7a.m. to 11p.m. When its “convenience” was noted, the idea took off and competitors sprung up by the dozens. But 7-11 forged on, extending their actual hours to 24 a day, but keeping the original name.
They were the first outlet of their kind to operate around the clock, sell fresh coffee in disposable cups, provide self-serve soda bars, offer all major brands of soft drinks, and serve extra large drinks. To promote all this, they also became the first convenience store to advertise, producing an ad for television in 1949 that featured an animated rooster and crow, symbolic of when they were open.
Their 5800 stores in the U.S. and Canada, and a total of 25,000 worldwide, make them the largest retail convenience stores in the world.
Out of all American retailers, 7-11 sells more cold beer, cold bottles of water, cold Gatorade, fresh-grilled hotdogs, single servings of chips, Sports Illustrated magazines, USA Today newspapers and…money orders.
The most Slurpees are downed in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada (a notoriously cold place in winter) and Detroit, Michigan (almost as cold); coffee is chugged down in record gallons in Long Island, N.Y; Big Gulps disappear by the gallon in Las Vegas and Utah; hot dogs are scarfed more in Washington, D.C. than anywhere else, and nachos are the nosh of choice in Colorado.