7 Eleven was founded in 1927 in Dallas, Texas, when John Jefferson Green, an employee of the Southland Ice Company, began selling milk, eggs, and bread, from an improvised storefront in front of one of the company’s ice houses.
The manager of the ice plant, Joe C. Thompson, recognized the potential of this idea as the ice preserved the items and allowed people to buy these goods close to home. He eventually bought the Southland Ice Company and opened several stores selling convenience items.
In 1946 the name of the company was changed to 7 Eleven to reflect the stores’ new opening hours, from 7:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.
In 1952 the company opened its’ 100th store.
In 1964 7 Eleven began implementing 24-hour schedules in its stores.
After a management buyout in 1987 and several changes in ownership, the company’s largest franchisee Ito-Yokado rescued the company from bankruptcy in 1998 and bought it outright in 2005.
In mid-2018, the company changed their contract terms with franchisors, forcing them to carry certain products and charging set prices for them. This has created tension as many franchisors are unhappy with the new terms.
Today 7 Eleven is the world’s largest operator, franchisor, and licensor of convenience stores, with more than 50,000 outlets. 7 Eleven operates in Japan, the United States, Thailand, Indonesia, Canada, the Philippines, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Malaysia, and Singapore.