Public to Pick Top Three Among 10 Semi-Finalists Vying for Franchise Fee-Free 7-Eleven® Store

Contestants' videos on 7-Eleven Facebook; Final Three to be Interviewed by Company's CEO

DALLAS - March 16, 2015 // PRNewswire // - And now there are 10. Ten military veterans or those soon to leave the U.S. Armed Forces are competing for the public's favor and the opportunity to own a 7-Eleven® franchise without the expense of a franchise fee. The Facebook video competition for the semi-finalists in 7-Eleven's Operation: Take Command franchise giveaway starts today and runs through March 29.

Collectively representing all branches of military service, the 10 semi-finalists were selected from more than 1,700 applications received by 7-Eleven between Veterans Day last November and Jan. 25. One especially qualified and talented military veteran will win a 7-Eleven store. But now, it is up to the voting public to narrow the field.

As part of 7-Eleven's contest to win a franchise, the nine men and one woman have posted their "Why I Should Win Operation: Take Command" videos on 7-Eleven's Facebook page. To view the videos and vote, go to and click on OPERATION: TAKE COMMAND.

7-Eleven is asking the public to choose the video and personal story they like the best, which will determine the top three contenders. These three finalists will then have one-on-one interviews with 7-Eleven President and CEO Joe DePinto, who himself is former military. DePinto will announce the winner of the contest in May.

Facebook voting runs from March 16-29.

To make the voting even more impactful, 7-Eleven offers to contribute $1 for every vote cast, up to $50,000, to Hire Heroes USA, a nonprofit organization that works with transitioning service members, veterans and spouses from military service into civilian success .To learn more about the organization, visit

"We have been amazed at the huge interest and outstanding quality of those who have applied for a franchise fee-free 7-Eleven store in our Operation: Take Command contest," said Greg Franks, 7-Eleven vice president of franchise systems. "Choosing a winner will be tough because of the high caliber of these 10 individuals and we are counting on the public to make the decision on who advances to the final round."

The winner will receive a waiver of the franchise fee, valued at up to $190,000, to franchise any of the company's 7-Eleven convenience stores available in the continental U.S. at the contest's culmination.

So who are these 10 people? Where are they and what motivates them to compete for a 7-Eleven franchise? Alphabetically, they are:

Mark Boussy from San Antonio, Texas – Boussy says it's time to settle in San Antonio with his wife and three children. The military college graduate and battalion commander states he is trained in world-class customer service and hopes the next time video viewers see him he'll be in a 7-Eleven store running one of its franchises.

Stephen Darlow of Hampton, Va. – Darlow grew up in Jacksonville, Fla. He learned the importance of customer service and loved training others, having been the son and grandson of franchise business operators. A former air crewman and police officer, the Navy veteran is working toward his bachelor's degree and ready to "take command" of his own future.

Salil Gautam of Chesapeake, Va. - Gautam served in the U.S. Army for 4 ½ years. When he came to the U.S., the Nepal native's first job was with a 7-Eleven store in northern California. His goals include mentoring others and providing financial support to assist veterans.

Robert Kemna from Miami, Fla. - A former Army captain, Kemna says it's time to pass on what he has learned and stand up for his future. He lists his qualifications as being a talented hard worker with commitment and leadership skills.

Raymond Kempisty of Laurel, Md. - Kempisty, having achieved the rank of lieutenant commander in the Navy, comes from a family with a broad, strong military heritage. He's ready to start a new family tradition of owning a 7-Eleven franchise. Perched on a mechanical bull in his video and referring to his next phase of life, Kempisty says he's "ready for the ride."

Mark Page of Granbury, Texas – Page has served in both active and reserve duty with the Navy and has traveled a great deal in his current profession. He believes a 7-Eleven franchise is just the ticket to be closer to home and family. He boasts that his strengths are being a proud veteran and loving family man with a passion to lead. His video is styled like a mini-movie, complete with closings credits and "Coming Spring 2015" teaser.

Justin Price from Charlotte, N.C. - Price also has a military-family heritage. His experience includes serving as an Army infantry leader and in supply chain optimization. He's proud of his sales and leadership qualities. Price's video shows him campaigning to win the store by showing his desire to help others advance and to work with youth organizations.

Maximiliano Powell from Woodbridge, Va. – Powell tells of his work ethic, at one time holding down two to three jobs while raising three kids by himself. He enjoys helping people and currently serves as a nurse. Having spent 12 years in the Army, he describes himself as a person of values, compassion and integrity possessing a "go-getter" attitude.

Vaughn Sullenberger of Virginia Beach, Va.. – Sullenberger is a Navy veteran with banking experience having managed 17 branches. He used the GI bill to support him during years of study to obtain a bachelor's and post-graduate degrees. His dream is to partner with a successful company. Should he win, his wife wants to dedicate the store to her father who once worked with 7-Eleven.

Karen Woznicki of Grand Blanc, Mich. – Woznicki served two years in the Army where she learned that through great training and leadership, one can accomplish anything. She knows her way around convenience stores having successfully turned around many an operation over the years. Her video includes entertainment – she sings a song about 7-Eleven, set to the tune of Tiny Bubbles.

To qualify for the contest, entrants had to be 21 years of age or older, a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, an honorably discharged veteran, 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.

To vote, Facebook member can go to 7-Eleven's Franchise Facebook page, click on the Operation: Take Command tab and "Like" the page. Anyone can vote and vote more than once – but only one time per day per Facebook account for as many days as they like through March 29.

7-Eleven has been recognized by veterans' organizations and publications for its military-friendly business opportunities, hiring practices and philanthropic support for military families. Military veterans serve in every level of the company from store sales associates to headquarters personnel. The retailer also has supported military assistance organizations including Hire Heroes USA, the USO, Reserve Aid, Warrior Gateway and Operation Mend.

About 7-Eleven, Inc.

7-Eleven, Inc. is the premier name and largest chain in the convenience retailing industry. Based in Dallas, Texas, 7-Eleven operates, franchises or licenses nearly 10,500 7-Eleven® stores in North America. Globally, there are more than 55,100 7-Eleven stores in 16 countries. During 2013, 7-Eleven stores generated total worldwide sales close to $84.5 billion. 7-Eleven has been honored by a number of companies and organizations recently. Accolades include: #2 on Franchise Times Top 200 Franchise Companies for 2013; #1 on Entrepreneur magazine's 2014 Top Global Franchise list; #10 spot on Entrepreneur magazine's Franchise 500 list for 2015, and #3 in Forbes magazine's Top 20 Franchises to Start. 7-Eleven is No. 3 on Fast Company magazine's 2013 list of the "World's Top 10 Most Innovative Companies in Retail." 7-Eleven places among Top Veteran-Friendly Companies for 2014 by U.S. Veterans Magazine and is among GI Jobs magazine's Top 100 Military Friendly Employers for 2014. Hispanic Magazine named 7-Eleven among its Hispanic Corporate Top 100 Companies that provide the most opportunities to Hispanics. 7-Eleven is franchising its stores in the U.S. and expanding through organic growth, acquisitions and its Business Conversion Program. Find out more online at

SOURCE 7-Eleven, Inc.



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