All hail the queen.Local business owner Lorie DeFelice was honored Friday morning by the 7-Eleven Corporation for having the busiest franchise in the 8,000-store chain in the United States.
To celebrate her store’s selling roughly 1,400 cups of coffee and 400 donuts on a daily basis, Ms. DeFelice was crowned the “Queen of Coffee” outside the franchise on County Road 39, while surrounded by friends and family. According to Laura Gorden, the vice president of marketing for 7-Eleven, the organization decided to name the first Queen of Coffee this year to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the chain’s first offering coffee to go.
Several members of the 7-Eleven corporate “family” traveled from Texas to New York to bestow the honor on Ms. 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,” Ms. Gordon said. “Thank you for all that you have done, and all that your family has done, to help the brand,” she told Ms. DeFelice.
Ms. DeFelice has owned the store on the corner of County Road 39 for the past 17 years, since she took it over from her father, Tom, who opened the franchise 44 years ago.
On Friday morning, Ms. Gordon said that one of the most inspiring things about Ms. DeFelice and her family is their commitment to the community, saying it is clear they care about Southampton.
“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 on Friday 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,” Donna Christina Oliverio, founder of Kids Stock the House, which is dedicated to helping children and families in need, said on Friday. “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, Ms. DeFelice thanked the roughly 30 people in attendance, saying she was proud to be a part of the Southampton community. To celebrate, the store offered free coffee and donuts to customers on Friday morning.
“Thank you, everyone, for being here,” she said. “We really appreciate that.”