How 7-Eleven conquered the world

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Anyone who has ever come to Thailand will tell you that there are more 7-elevens here than there are temples. It seems that there is one on nearly every street corner. No matter where you go in the land of smiles, there’s sure to be a 7-eleven nearby.

7-Eleven is the king of convenience stores all across the globe, with more than 21,000 stores in 18 countries. 7-eleven came to Thailand on June 1st, 1989, nearly twenty seven years ago to this day. The first 7-eleven in Thailand popped up on the infamous Patpong Rd in Bangkok. Since then, they’ve been sprouting up like weeds all over the place.


The ubiquitous chain has a long history. John Jefferson Green started 7-eleven in 1927 under the name Southland Ice Company, in Dallas, USA. Originally, as the name suggests, only ice was sold, but eventually the venue began to sell milk, bread, eggs and other commodities that people need on a daily basis. What set it apart from other grocery stores was that it stayed open after they all closed.

Southland stores spread across the country like wildflower and in 1946 the name of the chain was changed to 7-eleven. Why did it change to this name, you’re probably not asking. It was because the store originally was open from 7am to 11pm.

The expansion of 7-eleven didn’t stop at the country’s border. The uniqueness of 7-elevens appealed to people the world over. Pretty soon they popped up everywhere, stealing business from local Ma & Pa general stores. So this is why now you can’t turn around on the street in Thailand without spotting one.

They’re absolutely everywhere.