Three’s company at 7‑Eleven, Inc. The world’s largest convenience retailer announced today that all three finalists will win a 7‑Eleven® store in its first franchise give-away contest targeted exclusively to women entrepreneurs.
Winners Alyson Rae Lawson of Dallas, Texas, Avalon Young of Castle Rock, Colorado, and Evelyn Scott of Chesapeake, Virginia, will each receive a waiver of the franchise fee, valued at up to $190,000, to franchise any 7‑Eleven®convenience store available in the continental United States. All have indicated they hope to select locations that are close to their homes.
The three finalists were flown, all expenses paid, to the company’s home office in Irving, Texas, to interview with 7‑Eleven President and CEO Joe DePinto. The finalists were selected from seven semi-finalists who went head to head in a competitive online video contest for the chance to make it to the final round.
“To say that each candidate was impressive would be an understatement,” said President and CEO Joe DePinto of his interviews with the three finalists. “Each brings a unique set of strengths. In addition, all are extremely community-oriented and have strong business, leadership and interpersonal skills. Those are qualities successful franchisees need. Any one of them would make a great independent business owner at 7‑Eleven, and I couldn’t see selecting just one, when all three are exactly the type of folks we want as franchisees and as part of the 7‑Eleven network.”
7‑Eleven will donate $10,000 to the charity selected by each winner. The charities align with Project A-Gameâ, a 7‑Eleven grant program that funds youth programs focused on education, fitness, safety and hunger relief.
Here are the winners and their selected charities:
Castle Rock, Colorado
Young says she has been in retail all her life, “since I was a paper girl at 13.” At another retailer, she almost tripled sales in four years. Currently the business manager of a computer repair service company, Young is collaborating with a local high school to create technology internships and mentor students interested in the technology and electronics repair industry.
“I can’t wait to be an example to other women and show them what can happen when hard work meets opportunity,” she said. “I’ve always planned on being in retail, and it was a challenge to find the right retailer I could build a business with for the next 30 years. The 7‑Eleven system is perfect for me, and I’m thankful for this opportunity.”
Her favorite 7‑Eleven products: 7-Select® sour neon gummi worms and the new fresh-brewed Iced Coffee
Selected charity: Montessori Educational Foundation
Lawson has three business degrees and lots of enthusiasm. Her MBA and accounting background will prepare her well for the financial side of franchising and her wonderful personality for the people part of the business. Lawson follows in the footsteps of her father, who has franchised national chain restaurants. She leads a busy volunteer life as well, one focused on youth. She has served as a First Tee mentor as well as a youth basketball and soccer coach.
Of the competition to win a fee free 7‑Eleven store, Lawson said, “It has been a long journey, and a rewarding one. I’m glad to come to the finish line and seeing not only was I a winner, but all the women were victorious.”
Her 7‑Eleven favorite: Piña Colada Slurpee® and SweeTARTS®
Selected charity: Lance A. Lemons Memorial Foundation
After 30 years in the U.S. Navy, Scott knows how to run a tight ship. She will soon retire with the rank of Commander Master Chief. Most recently in her military career, Scott has served as a human resources manager responsible for more than 1,900 sailors comprising eight squadrons and staff. She says she will run her business the same way she lives her life – with honesty, self-discipline and efficiency.
“After months of waiting, I still can’t believe it,” Scott said. “Who ever wins a store? This is big! It has already been a fantastic experience, and I can’t wait to open my store and be part of the 7‑Eleven family.”
Favorite 7‑Eleven products: 7-Select Pure Alkaline Water and Yosemite Road Moscato Wine
Selected charity: Oscar Smith Middle School
“Women own and operate less than a third of franchised businesses in the U.S., a number we want to help grow,” said Larry Hughes, 7‑Eleven vice president of franchise systems. “Because of our extensive training programs, proven business system, favorable financing, exclusive products and globally recognized brand, 7‑Eleven offers a great entrepreneurial opportunity for women … and men.”
Entrepreneur magazine ranked 7‑Eleven the No. 1 franchise business opportunity earlier this year on its 2017 Franchise 500 list.
To qualify for the Women’s Initiative competition, entrants had to be 21 years of age or older, a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, have excellent credit and at least three years of leadership, retail or restaurant experience. Contestants went through the same qualification process as all 7‑Eleven franchise applicants including interviews, credit evaluation, a leadership test, preparing a business plan and budget.
This year marks the 53rd year of franchising for the world’s largest convenience store chain. Today, franchisees operate almost 90 percent of the 7‑Eleven stores in the U.S. An interactive map at www.franchise.7‑Eleven.com indicates stores available for franchising.