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KENNEWICK, Wash. -- With the naming of Kennewick, Wash., as the Slurpee capital of the U.S., the 7-Eleven store at 3606 W. Clearwater here -- which sold more Slurpee drinks in August than any other store in North America -- was the launch site for the debut of Coca-Cola's Full Throttle Frozen Blue Demon Slurpee Energy Drink, unveiled Sept. 13, Franchising.com reported.
The Kennewick store beat out reigning U.S. market champion Detroit, and North American champion Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, the report stated. The rank is a first for any store in the state, and for the West Coast. The store also leads the entire U.S. for Slurpee sales for the entire year, the report stated.
The store's franchisee, Don Mariotto, hopes his store will be No. 1 in the world by the end of the year. "We are still collecting data, but that goal seems attainable in the next few months," he told the Web site.
Blue Demon, the latest Slurpee energy beverage, is named after a Mexican masked wrestler and actor, who was popular from 1948 to 1988, according to the report. The drink will not be available for other retailers until October, however, free samples were given away at the unveiling ceremony held at the store from Sept. 13 to 15, according to the Web site.
The store clinched the top spot after the store doubled its Slurpee-dispensing capacity from six to 12 barrels and, as a result, created demand, the report stated.
With the additional Slurpee capacity, the store now offers Coke, Pepsi, Mountain Dew, Hawaiian Punch, Banana, Pina Colada, Wild Cherry, Blue Raspberry, Blue Vanilla, Full Throttle Frozen Fury Energy, Orange Creme and Crystal Light Berry-Pomegranate flavors, according to the report.
Mariotto also attributes his store's success to his customer base, which includes the local Kamiakin Braves High School's football team.
"Man, those big hosses would come in during August practices with sweat pouring off of them, head straight for the Slurpee machine and hit it like it was a Pasco linebacker. I knew we would shoot to No. 1. Now I just hope those Slurpees help them to be No. 1; the way they handled Pasco and Richland, they have a great shot at it," he said.
In addition, other local groups -- including soccer teams, softball teams, marching band members and doctors' offices -- have bought the drinks 30 and 40 at a time to fend off the summer heat, the report stated.
"The new machines have been amazing in terms of increasing sales and making customers happy," Mariotto told the site. "We are truly a destination spot in Kennewick. We have people bringing in relatives from all over the country to show them the No. 1 Slurpee store in the world."