7-Eleven is an international chain of convenience stores that operates, franchises, and licenses some 56,600 stores in 18 countries. The chain was known as Tote'm Stores until renamed in 1946. 7-Eleven Inc. is headquartered in Irving, Texas. Its parent company, Seven-Eleven Japan Co., Ltd., is located in Chiyoda, Tokyo. Seven-Eleven Japan is held by the Seven & I Holdings Co. The companys first outlets were named "Tote'm Stores" because customers "toted" away their purchases. Some stores featured genuine Alaskan totem poles in front of the store. In 1946, the chains name was changed from "Tote'm" to "7-Eleven" to reflect the companys new, extended hours, 7:00 am to 11:00 pm, seven days per week. In November 1999, the corporate name of the US company was changed from "The Southland Corporation" to "7-Eleven Inc." In 1927, Southland Ice Company employee John Jefferson Green began selling eggs, milk, and bread from one of 16 ice house storefronts in Dallas, with permission from one of Southlands founding directors, Joe C. Thompson, Sr. Although small grocery stores and general merchandisers were available, Thompson theorized that selling products such as bread and milk in convenience stores would reduce the need for customers to travel long distances for basic items. He eventually bought the Southland Ice Company and turned it into Southland Corporation, which oversaw several locations in the Dallas area.