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Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About 7-11 — But Were Afraid to Ask

7-11-01 “Open 24 Hours” may be the best three words in the English language. Photo: Justin Taylor

7-Eleven: Home to the Slurpee, questionably grilled meats, and 3 am toilet paper runs. Throughout its 88-year history, the company has ingrained itself into our culture, our neighborhood, and our clogged hearts.

But what do we really know about this pervasive business?

Who had the idea to start 7-Eleven?

7-Eleven began as a roll of the dice from Southland Ice Company founder Joe C. Thompson when an employee, John Jefferson Green, suggested the company should begin selling household staples like bread and milk in their Texas ice stores.

Jefferson kept his store open during evenings and Sundays and seeing its success, Thompson Sr. later adopted these hours throughout all of their locations. The company took a major hit during The Great Depression, but the end of Prohibition ultimately saved the company (because nothing stirs American wallets quite like easily accessible alcohol).

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Prohibition + Illuminati reference. Photo: wackystuff

How did it get its name?

Originally, the stores were called Tote’m stores because customers would tote their purchases home. Many locations were decked out in Eskimo decor after Thompson visited Alaska because nothing draws customers in like a large totem pole in the middle of Texas.

In order to further differentiate themselves from grocery stores, Tote’ms opened at the scandalous hours of 7am to 11pm. In 1946, all Tote’ms became 7-Eleven’s in a massive, pre-television marketing move in order to promote their relatively revolutionary hours.

Well, when did they start opening 24/7?

Because of the most Texan reason possible: football. In 1963, the aftermath of a college football game in Austin kept the local 7-Eleven so busy, the store couldn’t close. Several locations experimented with 24/7 hours on the weekends until the entire chain realized how high demand was for life’s necessities (read: cigarettes and soda pop) in the middle of the night.

What’s the difference between an ICEE and a Slurpee ?

A powerful marketing team and a potentially addictive mystery ingredient (high fructose corn syrup or heroin, depending on the tongue color of who you ask). 7-Eleven’s notorious Slurpee was originally marketed as an ICEE, but the name and product was revamped after a couple of years to connect the syrupy frozen drinks directly to the chain.

With over 14 million sold per month, the Slurpee is the most popular beverage associated with 7-Eleven. Slurpees remain so beloved that people are willing to fill rice cookers with the brain-freeze-inducing beverage.

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BRAAAIIINNN FREEEZZEEEE Photo: Austin Kirk

Is it a franchise or a just a chain?

7-Eleven is the (relatively) easiest franchise to purchase from a major chain. Up until the 2008 recession, 7-Eleven franchises were first class tickets to the American Dream for thousands of Southeast Asian immigrants. Today, 7-Eleven is one of the largest franchise companies in the world with over 56,000 stores in 18 countries. For reference, McDonald’s has a measly 35,000 restaurants worldwide.

Who signs the checks?

In order to save 7-Eleven from its second bankruptcy (still less than Donald Trump and the first occurred after The Great Depression), the Japanese company Seven & I Holdings acquired 7-Eleven. The move underscores Japan’s unparalleled love for 7-Eleven stores, one-third of which are densely packed throughout the small country.

7 Facts You Can’t Un-know

  • An unsettling, Illuminati-esque 666,000 pounds of glaze are used each month on 7-Eleven’s donuts, fritters, and other pastries.
  • If you watch the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy, a 7-Eleven will have opened during the credits of each film.
  • 7-Eleven has the largest ATM network of any US retailer.
  • Most Slurpees are certified kosher because everyone should be able to enjoy their diabetes-inducing satisfaction.
  • In 1949, 7-Eleven’s made convenience store history with its punny commercial which featured the tagline “You Auto Know.” Unfortunately for them, Alanis Morissette hadn’t been born yet.
  • For 20 years, 7-Eleven has been giving American police departments millions of Slurpee coupons to dole out to upstanding youths during the summer.
  • One out of four of you are within a mile of a 7-Eleven.

Go now! Or whenever. It’ll always be open.

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Deals

How To Get FREE NACHOS For National Nacho Day

Nacho-Day-Deal

This Friday, Nov.6, is National Nacho Day. In honor of this awesome occasion, G&M Oil Co. is offering FREE NACHOS to customers for the day. The convenience fuel retailer can be found at most Chevron locations in Southern California.

All you have to do is walk into a G&M and between 6am through 6pm on Nov. 6 and get your free order of nachos. You can find all participating locations at the G&M site.

While nachos aren’t the most car-friendly snack, we’ll find a way to endure. For the sake of the commute. After all, free is always good.

 

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Products

LEGO Announces Simpsons Kwik-E-Mart Set That’ll Make You Come Again

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Long-time fans of the animated series The Simpsons will know that the fictional convenience store, the Kwik-E-Mart, is one of the more prominently featured landmarks of the show. Now, it looks like the establishment will be making its way into the LEGO family, set to hit stores in early May.

A few noteworthy items in this detail-packed play-set include miniature donuts, a Squishie machine, heat lamp hot dogs, and tons of other snacks and beverages found throughout the show’s long-running history.

Featuring 2,179 pieces, the Kwik-E-Mart will also come with a few familiar faces of the famed show. This includes proprietor Apu Nahasapeemapetilon, articulate outlaw Snake Jailbird, police chief Clancy Wiggum, Homer Simpson, Marge Simpson and Bort Bart Simpson.

As with all LEGO products, expect your wallet to take a pretty decent hit. The suggested retail price of the Kwik-E-Mart set will run about $199 US.

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Needless to say, it’s definitely on our next Christmas list.

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Hit-Or-Miss

Drake Brings Nicki Minaj on Convenience Store Snack Spree

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After Nicki Minaj treated lil’ bro Drizzy to a lap dance in her “Anaconda” music video, Drake did the proper thing and took her out on a convenience store snack spree.

While on a break from filming on the set of Usher’s “She Came to Give It to You” video, Nicki and Drake made a munchies run. While wandering the aisles of a convenience store, Drake drops the all you gotta do is point. Nicki then proceeds to pick up Cheez-Its and something that may or may not “shave a good six months off your life.”

Ladies, take note.

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Deals

Score a Free Small Slurpee Today With The 7-Eleven App

free-slurpee-cup

Who: 7-Eleven
What:
 Free small Slurpee of your choice if you have the new 7-Eleven smartphone app (yes, they just gave away free Slurpees about a week ago, but they’re doing it again…but only if you have the app)
Where: All participating 7-Eleven locations
When: Saturday, July 19

H/T Brand Eating

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Hit-Or-Miss

7-Eleven Gets Wooden Fruit Baskets and Aims for Millennials with Trader Joe-Esque Makeover

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Yep, the hipster aesthetic is officially dead. For years, we’ve watched corporate logos get ironed out, flashy signage be replaced with adorable handwritten chalkboards. Love distressed wood? Congratulations, here are 500+ restaurants whose tables came all the way from the Himalayas! Best of all, at least half of them are the same corporate chains you already know and love (*cough, McDonald’s, Starbucks).

7-Eleven is just the latest chain to trade in its depressing, cost-efficient white walls and linoleum in favor of something a little “friendlier.” In a series of new concept stores nicknamed “7-Eleven Next Generation,” gone are the logo’s familiar green, red, and orange stripes, the cramped aisles, and (hopefully) the flies in the pastry box. Instead, Ohio-based design firm WD Partners has ushered in a brand new, Trader Joe’s-y vibe to everyone’s favorite convenience store, and even we have to admit, home-store looks goooood.

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Design Taxi reports the redesign is meant to “reposition and rejuvenate” the brand and help it “better capture the millennial and female demographics.”

Which, okay, fine, makes sense. No one liked the gigantic stripes anyway, and picking fruit out of a wooden palette does seem quaint and farmer’s market-y. But maybe it’s still a little too trendy. Makes me miss the days when convenience stores sucked just the right amount to let you go inside willingly, but not want to spend more than five minutes there.

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Luckily, branding blog Brand New reports there isn’t any indication this concept will be rolled out to all 7-Eleven (sorry, 7eleven) locations any time soon — just a few in New York’s Financial District and Chicago. So for now, let’s all continue to chug down our giant Slurpees in our oversized, MJ-scented hoodies. Quick, before the chicks in the make-up and yoga pants come through.

H/T Design Taxi + PicThx Brand New

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Deals

7-Eleven Rolls Out Mini Chicken Chipotle Tacos at 55 Calories Each

chipotle-tacos

There’s something about stale, greasy convenience store grub that just wets our Foodbeast appetites. Pause. Now, 7-Eleven is offering Chicken Chipotle Mini Tacos at 4 for $1. The mini snacks feature white corn tortillas stuffed with shredded chicken, chopped onions and green chilies — similar to the Spicy Beef Mini Tacos launched last year. While each taco will only run you 55 calories, you’ll probably need at least 16 of these mini meals to feel remotely satiated.

Although, that’s coming from the girl who eats bacon brownies as a “light” midnight snack.

H/T GrubGrade