7-Eleven stores originated in 1927 in Dallas, Texas, when John Jefferson Green had an idea and started selling milk, eggs and bread from an improvised storefront. This significantly cut back on the need for locals to travel far to grocery stores for basic items.
7-Eleven is now part of an international chain of convenience stores. It primarily operates as a franchise. In fact, it's the world's largest franchiser and licenser of convenience stores with more than 50,000 outlets worldwide. For perspective, that's approximately 1,000 more stores than the McDonald's Corporation.
Stores are located in 16 countries, but its largest market is Japan with 15,000 stores, followed by 8,200 in the United States.
In 1998, the company was rescued from bankruptcy by the Japanese corporation Ito-Yokado, its largest franchisee. Downsizing also resulted in many metropolitan areas losing 7-Eleven stores to competing convenience store chains.
In 1991, the Japanese company gained controlling shares of 7-Eleven and formed Seven & I Holdings Co., Ltd., of which 7-Eleven became a subsidiary in 2005. The company is expanding its American operations and is planning an additional 1,000 stores in the United States. Although 7-Eleven was originally 'made in the USA,' Japan now controls all the 7-Eleven stores in the world.