Today, July 7th marks the 85th anniversary for the convenience store chain 7-Eleven. Participating locations around the country are offering free 7.11 ounce Slurpees from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. To find the nearest location you can use the 7-Eleven store locator, and call ahead to see if they are participating with this promotion.
Today is also the 45th anniversary of the Slurpee at 7-Eleven, and the chain is expecting to distribute seven millions free ones this year, a large increase from the five million it gave out last year. The company began in 1927, started by Joe C. Thompson, an employee of Southland Ice Company. Thompson began selling milk, eggs and bread out of an ice house. He eventually became so successful that he bought the entire company, and became known for keeping his stores open from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. By 1952 Thompson had opened 100 stores, and as of 1991 7-Eleven has been run by a Japanese group called Seven & I Holdings Co. with over 46,000 stores in 16 different countries.
7-Eleven discussed in a press release how the Slurpee accidentally came into existence at a drive-in hamburger restaurant. Omar Knedlik, the proprietor of the restaurant struggled to serve his customers fountain beverages after the soda machine broke, and gave them icy-cold bottled soft drinks that he had kept in deep freeze. Customers soon demanded more of these semi-frozen bottled drinks, and the Knedlik came upon the idea of creating soft-serve frozen drinks.
Knedlick went on to approach a company about his idea, and they created a machine using compact Freon refrigeration to freeze a carbonated drink and serve it in a ‘sherbet-like form’. Originally called the “Icee Machine”, a 7-Eleven store manager discovered it and bought three in 1965, and by 1967 these Slurpees were served in nearly every 7-Eleven store.
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