Kennewick, Wash. has been deemed the Slurpee capital of the U.S. In August, the 7-Eleven store sold more Slurpee drinks than any other store in North America, shooting past reigning U.S. market champion Detroit and North American champion Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, to take the No. 1 position for the month, a title never before held by a store in Washington state or anywhere on the West Coast. The store now leads the U.S. for Slurpee sales for all of 2007.
Don Mariotto, the store’s franchisee, hopes that the store will be No. 1 in the world by the end of the year.
“We are still collecting data, but that goal seems attainable in the next few months,” Mariotto said.
Because of the community’s love of Slurpee drinks, the Kennewick 7-Eleven has been designated as the launch point for the world premiere of Coke’s Full Throttle Frozen Blue Demon Slurpee Energy Drink on Sept. 13. Blue Demon is named after the famed Mexican masked wrestler and actor popular from 1948 to 1988. Frozen Blue Demon Slurpee won’t be available anywhere else in the world until October. Free samples and giveaways will be part of the premiere celebration at the store Sept. 13 to 15.
The store, unofficially dubbed Kennewick’s Slurpee Factory, moved up to the top spot nationwide after ranking 20th in the U.S. and 33rd in North America at the end of June. This meteoritic rise came after the store was able to double its Slurpee-dispensing capacity from six to 12 barrels and, as a result, create unprecedented community excitement and demand. The march was on to become No. 1. 7-Eleven operates and franchises more than 5,400 7-Eleven stores in the U.S.
Mariotto said that all summer long soccer teams, softball teams, marching band members and even doctors’ offices have bought Slurpee drinks 30 and 40 at a time seeking respite from the Tri-City summer.