For many, 7-Eleven represents a convenient stop for a quick snack or late-night Slurpee. But there’s more to this convenience store than meets the eye.
Discover seven intriguing facts about this iconic brand:
A Modest Beginning: The journey began in 1927, when Joe Thompson of the Southland Ice Company initiated a makeshift storefront in Dallas, selling essentials like milk, eggs, and bread. What started as a convenience for locals avoiding crowded grocery stores soon expanded throughout Texas. An Alaskan totem pole, brought back by a company executive, earned one location the nickname “Tote’m Store,” a nod to customers “toting” away their purchases. The name later changed to 7-Eleven in 1946, highlighting the new store hours of 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. Although it began in Dallas and faced two bankruptcies, 7-Eleven has been a Japanese company since 1991. Today, Japan boasts more 7-Eleven locations than any other country.
Cold Drinks and ‘Brainfreezes’: Ever got a headache from drinking a cold beverage too quickly? 7-Eleven has coined that sensation as ‘Brainfreeze,’ and it’s a registered trademark of the company.
The Graceful Logo: Have you noticed the lowercase “n” in 7-ELEVEn? This unique touch came about because the company president’s wife believed an all-caps version seemed too aggressive. The lowercase letter added a touch of grace to the logo.
Trailblazing Moves: Originally named “Tote’m” Stores with an Alaskan Native American theme, 7-Eleven pioneered the concept of extended store hours. The switch to 7-Eleven in 1946, representing the then-unprecedented hours of 7 a.m. to 11 p.m., was groundbreaking. The brand didn’t transition to 24-hour operations until 1963.
Coffee On-the-Go: Before Starbucks and Dunkin’ dominated the scene, 7-Eleven made history in 1964 as the first chain to offer fresh coffee in to-go cups. Soon, to-go coffee was available nationwide, and the invention of coffee lids wasn’t far behind.
Classical Music and Youths: In a quirky 1991 experiment, a 7-Eleven store in Thousand Oaks, CA used classical music to deter loitering youths. For classical aficionados, it was a musical treat, and the strategy proved effective.
A Simpsons Overhaul: In a promotional move for The Simpsons Movie in 2007, 12 North American 7-Eleven stores transformed into Kwik-E-Marts, the show’s fictional convenience store. These revamped locations sold Krusty-O’s cereal, Radioactive Man comics, Buzz Cola, and even Squishees, the show’s version of Slurpees. Duff Beer, Homer Simpson’s beverage of choice, was absent due to the PG-13 movie rating, but fans could quench their thirst with a Duff Energy Drink instead.