Tri-Cities Slurpee(R) Celebration

$1,000 Prize and Blue Bridge Brainfreeze Challenge Marks March to #1

June 03, 2008 // Franchising.com // TRI-CITIES, WA. – Kennewickians may drink more Slurpee® semi-frozen carbonated beverages than any one group in the world, and the habit is growing in Richland and Pasco, as well.

In 2007, the Kennewick 7-Eleven® store, located at 3606 W. Clearwater, sold more Slurpee drinks than any other in the United States. Unless the Columbia freezes over, the Kennewick Slurpee Factory, as the store has been unofficially named, will become the No. 1 store in the world for Slurpee sales by mid-summer.

Significant sales increases also have been registered at the 7-Eleven stores in Richland and Pasco. Overall, the Tri-Cities-area 7-Eleven stores are now ranked #23 out of 762 geographic markets in North America, but are showing the largest Slurpee sales jump.

Last summer, 7-Eleven doubled the Slurpee-dispensing capacity of its Kennewick store, going from six to 12 Slurpee dispenser barrels. To meet increasing demand, each of the five stores in Richland and Pasco received additional equipment and have increased capacity and offer a wider variety of flavors.

To celebrate Tri-Citians' love of Slurpee drinks and to rally the community to help the stores grab the top Slurpee title for North America, the local 7-Eleven team will launch a Blue Bridge Brainfreeze challenge from June 1-7. Named for the famed link between Kennewick and Pasco and the mind-numbing sensation that often accompanies Slurping a Slurpee beverage, Blue Bridge Brainfreeze aims to reward both Slurpee aficionados and the more casual Slurpers.

"I doubt there has been a Slurpee promotion or push like this before," said Don Mariotto, franchisee of the Kennewick store. The first 300 customers who obtain a Slurpee continuity card from any Tri-City 7-Eleven store and then purchase a 40-oz. Slurpee beverage from each of the six stores will receive a special commemorative Blue Bridge Brainfreeze t-shirt. In addition, coupons for special discounts on 7-Eleven Big Bite® hot dogs and Go-Go Taquitos® will be distributed at these stores.

To mark the Kennewick store's rapid rise in Slurpee sales, a $1,000 prize will be awarded to the person who designs a t-shirt that would commemorate the store's ascension to the top Slurpee sales spot. The shirt will be produced and sold later in the summer when 7-Eleven certifies the store's No. 1 status.

Mariotto said his quest to be "Slurpee King" started in January of 2007 when he learned that 7-Eleven stores in the Detroit and Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, areas had for decades held the No. 1 position in Slurpee sales in the United States and the world, respectively.

"Actually, I was surprised that the Canadians were number one" Mariotto said. "I thought it strange that the title was held outside of the U.S., where the drink was invented. My customers love Slurpees, so I said to myself 'Move over Manitoba, Kennewick is King.' "

News gradually spread of Mariotto's store's climb to success, and by June of last year, Kennewick had risen to the number one Slurpee sales store on the West Coast. In July of 2007, new equipment and flavors were added to meet the growing demand, and by August of last year Kennewickian's Slurpee consumption surpassed all other U.S. cities. And, for six of the last nine months, the Kennewick store has sold more Slurpee drinks than any other store in the world.

Mariotto, who franchised the Kennewick 7-Eleven store in July of 2005 explained that he tries to make getting a Slurpee drink a fun event for families and groups of friends.

"Everybody has their favorite flavors, and some use the vibrant colors to make slippery works of art in their cup," he said. "I see the smiles and hear the laughter and every once in a while I just have to greet thirsty customers with a hearty 'It's Slurpee Time!' "

About 7‑Eleven, Inc.

7‑Eleven, Inc. is the premier name and largest chain in the convenience retailing industry. Based in Dallas, Texas, 7-Eleven operates, franchises or licenses more than 7,500 7-Eleven® stores in North America. Globally, 7-Eleven operates, franchises or licenses some 34,100 stores in 14 countries. During 2007, 7-Eleven stores worldwide generated total sales of more than $46.6 billion. Find out more online at www.7-Eleven.com.

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