Serving guests 24 hours a day is one of the cornerstones of 7-Eleven’s business. Ironically, 7-Eleven got its name because the stores were open from 7 a.m. until 11 p.m., which was considered to be "extended hours" back in the mid-1900s. Most competitors followed our lead, opening and closing the same times as 7-Eleven’s stores. By the early ‘60s, lifestyles and demographics were changing in the United States. The average age of the U. S. population was becoming younger, and people were much busier. They needed products and services at all hours.
7-Eleven's move to stay open 24 hours started in 1963, at a store in Austin, Texas, and it happened almost by accident. The store was located very close to the university campus. One Saturday night after a football game, the store was so busy that it never closed. Eventually, the manager opened the store 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and it was quite successful. Soon afterwards, 7-Eleven opened 24-hour stores in Dallas, Fort Worth and Las Vegas, and those hours were adopted companywide. Today, most 7-Eleven stores around the world operate 24 hours a day.
7-Eleven's simple act of opening stores around the clock was a pioneering move in the retail arena. Thousands of competitors -- as well as other retail operations, grocery stores, drug and even fitness centers -- have followed 7-Eleven’s lead, a trend that has changed the way Americans live and shop.
The American work routine has changed. More jobs require late-night or early-morning schedules. Many U.S. factories run around the clock with three full shifts. Americans are staying up later and getting up earlier, and they need a convenient place to shop. They may range from truck and taxi drivers to police and firefighters, to utility workers and hospital and manufacturing employees. They are parents with sick children and travelers who simply need a cup of hot coffee.
More than 10 million people in this country are up at 3 a.m., and 7 million of them are working. They include: firefighters, police officers, nurses, doctors and ambulance drivers, newspaper, TV and radio crews, postal workers, printers and overnight photo lab employees, manufacturing night-shift workers, stockbrokers, home health care workers, people working from their home, such as computer programmers and writers, military installation personnel, computer operators at high-tech firms, law office and corporate word processors, cooks, chefs and bakers, delivery truck drivers (newspapers and bread), long-distance truck drivers, customer-service line representatives, street and highway, telephone and utility repair personnel, government workers, hotel and motel employees, limo, taxi, school and other bus drivers, casino employees, security guards, office cleaning service workers, private security patrols, emergency hotline workers, people "on call", musicians, actors and other entertainers.
We may be asleep, but they are not. They are earning their livelihood and need services through the night and to and from their place of work.