curtain closes on kwikemart

The curtain may have closed on the Kwik-E-Mart, the fictional convenience store on The Simpsons brought to life in 11 markets by 7-Eleven, but a piece of the project will live on. That’s because 7-Eleven is donating the building materials and cardboard cutouts of Homer, Bart and the rest of The Simpsons clan and donating them to hospitals participating in the Children’s Miracle Network.

As part of the campaign to promote The Simpsons Movie, the yellow “brick” Kwik-E-Marts drew enthusiastic, around-the-clock crowds that bought countless Sprinklicious donuts, boxes of Krusty O’s Cereal, six-packs of Buzz Cola and Radioactive Man comic books. The products and other licensed Simpsons merchandise will be available at participating stores through August while supplies last, and the popular, bright pink donut from the movie’s logo will continue to be offered because it was developed by 7-Eleven and its bakery partners and can be made fresh and delivered daily to stores.

While scores of customers offered money for the Homer, Bart, Marge, Apu, Comic Book Man and other Simpsons characters found hanging out at the Kwik-E-Marts, 7-Eleven decided instead to spread the goodwill and fun by donating all Kwik-E-Mart “sets” to Children’s Miracle Network-affiliated hospitals for them to raise funds or entertain patients. All recipient hospitals are located in the same major metropolitan areas as the Kwik-E-Mart stores. Some police departments, who plan to use his likeness at community events, have requested the Chief Wiggum character.

Two Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals–Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles and Children’s Hospital of Denver–have radio-thons planned in which items will be auctioned off to listeners. Others plan to display the characters in hospital play areas.

“We have left it up to the hospitals to use the Kwik-E-Mart memorabilia where they believe they will do the most good or bring the most joy,” said Nancy Lear, 7-Eleven community relations director. “Our employees and customers have had a lot of fun this month, and we hope that, by passing the Kwik-E-Mart sets along to Children’s Miracle Network hospitals, we can help raise much-needed funds for these hospitals while continuing to bring laughter to people.”

Metropolitan-area hospitals benefiting from the 7-Eleven donation of Kwik-E-Mart items are:* Chicago: Children’s Memorial Hospital * Dallas: Children’s Medical Center* Denver: The Children’s Hospital (Chief Wiggum to Denver Police Department)* Las Vegas: St. Rose Dominican Hospitals – Pediatric Care Unit* Los Angeles: (two Kwik-E-Mart locations) – Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (Chief Wiggum to Burbank Police Department)* New York City: Children’s Miracle Network-Metro New York ** Orlando: Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children* San Francisco: Children’s Hospital and Research Center Oakland* Seattle: Children’s Hospital and Regional Medical Center* Washington: Children’s National Medical Center

With more than 7,20 stores in North America, 7 Eleven is the largest chain in the convenience retailing industry. The Dallas-based company operates, franchises or licenses some 32,700 stores in 17 countries and one U.S. territory and, in 2006, generated worldwide sales of more than $44 billion.

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