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DALLAS -- Convenience Store News reported in its May 9, 1969 issue that a new 12,000-square -foot Reddy Ice manufacturing plant went into full operation, supplying 196 7-Eleven stores in southeastern Florida.
"Eventually we'll supply the chain's entire statewide system of nearly 600 units," Ralph Sanchez, manager of the facility, told CSNews at the time. The Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based facility operated under the ice division of The Southland Corp., then parent of the 7-Eleven chain of c-stores.
The 10 employees working at the plant said their work in the 26-degree climate is "invigorating," according to the report.
Forty years later, 7-Eleven opened a new facility in Bohemia, N.Y., to prepare and deliver fresh foods daily to 674 7-Eleven stores in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania -- all while conserving energy, water usage and utility costs.
The environmentally in-tune Commissary and Combined Distribution Center (CDC), located on Long Island, is 130,000 square feet and operated by Norris Food Services in compliance with Department of Homeland Security and Department of Agriculture food standards.
"This is a green-letter day for 7-Eleven," Darren Rebelez, chief operating officer for the Dallas-based convenience chain, said during the launch celebration in late January, noting fresh foods are viewed as one of its biggest growth areas and a point of differentiation within the marketplace. "Local commissaries, like this one, make it possible for us to create the highest-quality, freshest and safest foods for our customers," he added.
Sandwiches, salads, entrees and all other fresh foods prepared in the commissary's 72,000-square-foot kitchen adhere to quality standards that meet or surpass USDA regulations, according to 7-Eleven.
As Rebelez told CSNews Online, 7-Eleven anticipates continued growth in terms of both store count and sales for its fresh foods program, which is marketed under the Fresh-to-Go brand. In fact, the Bohemia facility, which went completely live Oct. 1, was built with expansion in mind and can accommodate up to 1,200 stores.
The vision for the future, the COO said, is to build up store concentrations in the remaining outlying areas and then get the facilities in place, so ultimately 100 percent of 7-Eleven stores will be offering fresh foods to their customers.
To read more about the new green facility, click here.