Flashback: Raise Your Slurpees to the Drink That Almost Wasn't

Editor's note: Take a look back into the archives of The Dallas Morning News.On July 11, 7-Eleven stores across the country celebrate "7-Eleven Day" by handing out free small Slurpees. But while you may know that 7-Eleven is a Dallas original, you may not know that the Slurpee began in Dallas as well. In the late 1950s, Omar Knedlik noticed that customers loved the frozen sodas he sold at his Kansas Dairy Queen. Wanting to capitalize on the discovery, Knedlik worked with Dallas manufacturing firm John E. Mitchell Company, Ltd. to develop a machine designed to dispense frozen carbonated beverages. By 1960, the Icee Machine was on the market. Unfortunately, the innovation was met with a chilly reception. For the first five years, the Icee Division at John E. Mitchell barely broke even. As the article notes, the company just about gave up. But then, as this 1965 article explains, demand suddenly took off. Business began to boom- especially business to grocery stores and 7-Eleven. Shortly after, 7-Eleven asked to license the product, which was allowed under one condition: They had to use a different name. They settled on Slurpee for the sound it made when sipped, and an American icon was born.So if you grab a free Slurpee on 7-Eleven Day, raise your drink to Texas manufacturing, Texas persistence, and that sweet slush itself.  Continue reading...

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