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SOUTHAMPTON, N.Y. — Coffee and doughnuts have added up to nationwide recognition for one 7-Eleven franchisee here.
A daily tally of approximately 1,400 cups of coffee and 400 doughnuts earned Southampton business owner Lorie DeFelice the title of "Queen of Coffee" as she was honored by 7-Eleven Inc. on Nov. 21, according to the news site 27east.com.
The organization decided to name its first Queen of Coffee this year to celebrate the 50th anniversary of 7-Eleven first offering coffee to go, according to Laura Gordon, vice president of marketing. Several members of the 7-Eleven corporate family traveled from the company's home base in Dallas to New York to bestow the inaugural honor on DeFelice.
"You don't sell a lot of coffee without having the right people behind you, understanding that it is about greeting people in the morning, always having a fresh pot ready to go, and about how you treat your customers and employees every day. Thank you for all that you have done, and all that your family has done, to help the brand," Gordon told DeFelice.
DeFelice has owned the 7-Eleven store on the corner of County Road 39 for the past 17 years. Her father, Tom, opened the franchise 44 years ago.
During the Nov. 21 ceremony at the store, Gordon said one of the most inspiring things about DeFelice and her family is their commitment to the community.
"When we think about 7-Eleven and our brand, it is all about building the community and helping the community," she said. "We know we can't do this without the broader community helping us."
Also on hand at the ceremony were children from the nonprofit organization Kids Stock the House, which has held fundraisers at the 7-Eleven store and received donations from the DeFelice family.
"Our organization would not be where we are today without the support of Lorie and the Southampton 7-Eleven," said Donna Christina Oliverio, founder of Kids Stock the House, which is dedicated to helping children and families in need. "They have brought unity to our community through their support for children and families. In my many years with this job, I cannot tell you how generous and loving this family is. We are forever grateful to them, and I love them all."
After being presented with a crown, scepter and cape, DeFelice thanked the roughly 30 people in attendance, saying she was proud to be a part of the Southampton community. As part of the celebration, the store offered free coffee and doughnuts to customers that morning.
Dallas-based 7-Eleven Inc. operates, franchises or licenses more than 10,400 7‑Eleven stores in North America.