Last Friday, 7-Eleven became the retailer with the most number of stores worldwide—but it started out as a simple country store selling milk and eggs.
Last Friday, 7-Eleven became the retailer with the most number of stores worldwide—40,000, to be precise, with a new one opening every three and a half hours.
In a CNN report to mark the milestone, Jeff Lenard, a vice president at the National Association of Convenience Store, explained that 7-Eleven can take much of the credit (or blame, depending on your point of view) for introducing the retail industry to the concept of "immediate consumption," noting that "80 percent of what is bought in convenience stores is typically consumed in the first hour after purchase."
The company is expanding its product offerings as well as its footprint: 7-Eleven's CEO, Joe DePinto, revealed that:
This year, 7-Eleven is rolling out Etch-it Bud Light bottles that you can write your name on, new Slurpee flavors, and a service that allows customers without credit cards or a bank account to shop online and pay their bills in cash.
The photo above, from CNN's accompanying slideshow, is the very first 7-Eleven, "a simple store called Southland Ice Co., that sold milk, eggs, bread, and ice," founded in 1927 in Oak Cliff, Texas. It wasn't until 1964 that the chain introduced to-go coffee, in a 7-Eleven store on Long Island, New York, with the iconic Slurpee following shortly thereafter in 1966.