Washington-area 7-Eleven Wants Slurpee Stardom

KENNEWICK, Wash. — A 7-Eleven store in Kennewick, Wash., sold more Slurpee drinks in 2007 than any other 7-Eleven in the U.S., and it’s on track to attain worldwide dominance in the Slurpee sales.

7-Eleven expects that 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, though significant sales increases also have been registered at the 7-Eleven stores in the nearby cities of Richland and Pasco.

Overall, the 7-Eleven stores in that Tri-Cities area are now ranked No. 23 out of 762 geographic markets in North America, but they’re showing the largest Slurpee sales jump, the company said.

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

To celebrate Tri-Citians’ love of Slurpee drinks and rally the community to help the stores grab the top Slurpee title for North America, the local 7-Eleven team is launching a Blue Bridge Brainfreeze challenge from June 1 to 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 will reward Slurpee aficionados, as well as the more casual Slurpee 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-ounce 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 those 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 commemorates 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 2007, when he learned that 7-Eleven stores in Detroit and Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada had for decades held the No. 1 position in Slurpee sales in the U.S. 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 climb to success at his Kennewick store, and by June 2007 his store had risen to the No. 1 Slurpee sales spot on the West Coast. For six of the last nine months, the Kennewick store has sold more Slurpee drinks than any other store in the world.

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