It's 11:30 a.m. and many landscapers, painters and construction workers have already been on the job for several hours. They're hot, tired, hungry and thirsty. So where do they turn? Many of them find that the local 7-Eleven will take care of all their needs.
Living in this area, it's hard to imagine not having a 7-Eleven to go to. Although they're sometimes taken for granted, they are there when people are looking for a quick bite, a drink or a grocery or two to hold them over.
Amy Smith is a public relations consultant for 7-Eleven and said, "We're really a fixture in people's lives."
They've come a long way from their humble beginnings as an ice dock in a Dallas suburb. Last month on 7-11, 7-Eleven celebrated their 75th anniversary. Stores all over the area celebrated, including the first and oldest-operating 7-Eleven store in Virginia, located at 3901 Lee Highway in Arlington.
Far from a "mom and pop" store, there's a reason why there's always a fresh hot dog on the rotisserie or a recently cooked slice of pizza or fried chicken in the warming ovens. Buying patterns and peak buying times are carefully tracked and charted at each store so that managers have a pretty good idea of when customers are coming in and what they are buying.
When new products are introduced, they are tested in certain markets before they are introduced nation-wide. At the 7-Eleven near the Braddock Road Metro station, they provide samples of products every Thursday. A few weeks ago, they were handing out samples of their Big Eats Deli Sandwiches. Paris Byrd and her brother, Brian Michael Byrd, happened to stop by while they were handing out samples and seemed to enjoy the hearty ham and cheddar with bourbon mustard sauce.
Todd Patrick, district market manager for 7-Eleven, said that they've also been sampling the Go-Go Taquitos, which were introduced in May. These crispy tortillas are filled with beef & cheese, chicken and cheese or Monterey Jack chicken.
"They've really taken off and done better than expected," said Patrick. "People are leaving surprised [at what we have]," said Smith.