They started in 1927 as the Southland Ice Company in Dallas Texas with a business model of “give the customers what they want when they need it.” The following is an excerpt from the History of 7-11.
When a gallon of milk cost 56 cents and ice was sold in blocks rather than bags for ice boxes back in 1927, an enterprising Southland Ice Company employee, “Uncle Johnny” Jefferson Green, began offering milk, bread and eggs from the ice house.
He quickly saw a need to carry these items for customers who were out of these everyday staples. He sold a lot of these items on Sundays and evenings when grocery stores were closed.
Realizing the possibilities of Uncle Johnny’s idea to provide customers what they wanted and when they needed it, Joe C. Thompson, Jr., one of the founders and later president and chairman of The Southland Corporation, began selling the product line at other ice-dock locations. At the time, the company had eight ice plants and 21 retail ice docks.
Thus convenience retailing was born. More and more customers caught on to this new idea, and the company increased to 60 Southland-owned retail ice docks within a decade.
To continue reading how Southland Ice eventually became 7-Eleven and evolved to become one of the most successful franchises in the world (click here) and scroll down. Today, following a series of bad business decisions, they are now owned by a Japanese company (click here.) Does that mean they will now change their name to 7-Ereven?
Here in the County we once had seven 7-Elevens, 4 of which were in the Lexington Park area alone. Currently, we are down to two with one in Mechanicsville and the other one in Charlotte Hall.
However, a couple of new ones are about to reappear as one is set for Callaway and another on Great Mills Road. A third one, south of Leonardtown, was turned down by the Planning Board (click here) who deemed that it was too close to Leonardtown School. Evidently the one in Great Mills, directly across from the high school there, wasn’t considered a problem.
Speaking of similar names, a crossword puzzle clue the other day read “Collin Ray (AR.)” The puzzle’s theme for that day had to do with songs by artists with a location in the title such as “Glen Campbell (TX)” = Galveston. I mucked around with the Collin Ray clue trying to figure out just where in Australia there was a city or town abbreviated as AR. After I worked some clues around the answer, I finally realized that I had confused country singer Collin Ray with the former lead singer of Men at Work Colin Hay. The AR in the clue actually stood for Little Rock and the following tune. (I think most Colin Hay’s tunes tend to be a little more upbeat than this one.)