7-Eleven was established in 1927 in Dallas, Texas, by Joe C. Thompson, an employee of an ice company. He started by selling bread and milk, which were kept fresh in the ice. The 7-Eleven name was adopted in 1946 (it comes from the working hours, from 7AM to 11PM) and by 1952 there were already 100 stores.
The first store in Japan was opened in 1974 - the Toyosu Store in Koto-ku, Tokyo. One year later, the first 24-hours store was opened, the Toramaru Store in Koriyama, Fukushima Prefecture.
During the 1980s, 7-Eleven run into several financial troubles. It was first rescued by its largest franchisee, the Japanese chain Ito-Yokado, but later suffered after the “Black Monday” market crash from 1987 and in 1991 the controlling share was acquired by the Japanese company. Finally, in 2005 Ito-Yokado became the Seven & I Holdings Co. and 7-Eleven became its subsidiary.
In 2011, from a total of 40000 stores, over 13000 were located in Japan and about 1700 of them in Tokyo. No wonder that the 7-Eleven conbini can be seen almost everywhere in Tokyo, like this store from Sumida, photographed here in a sunny summer day (after I run into it for an ice-cream):
7-Eleven Store, Sumida, Tokyo
Yesterday’s Japan Photo: The Black Teeth Lion from Tsukiji