August 26, 2015 // Franchising.com // DALLAS and BURLESON, Texas – With weeks of training on under his belt, a store brimming with merchandise and a heart ready to serve, U.S. Navy veteran Mark Anthony Page realizes his own American dream this week. Page becomes the business owner of a 7-Eleven® franchised store in Burleson after winning the company’s Operation: Take Command campaign.
It is the culmination of nine months’ work and competition to win first America’s and then 7-Eleven, Inc. CEO’s vote of confidence. The prize was an available 7-Eleven store of the winner’s choice at a discount, valued up to $190,000. But 7-Eleven, Inc. CEO Joe DePinto was so impressed with the three finalists, he offered each a store.
Operation: Take Command launched last Veterans Day (Nov. 11, 2014) as a multi-phased competition for first-time prospective franchisees retired or separated from the military. Entrants first had to be interviewed and qualified. The top 25 of the 6,000 entrants competed for the public’s votes in a Facebook video competition with the three finalists interviewing face-to-face with DePinto.
Page is the first of the three winning veterans to take possession of his 7-Eleven store, located at 980 NW John Jones Drive. The other winners, Army vets in Chesapeake, Va., and Miami, will step across their stores’ thresholds in September and after October, respectively.
“This is a once-in- a-lifetime opportunity,” said Page. “My wife and I are ecstatic about assuming business ownership of the 7-Eleven store in Burleson. We relish the thought of meeting new people, making new friends and becoming a part of a city and community that was recognized as a Top 100 Best Community for Young People. ”
“Mark Anthony represents what we look for in a franchisee,” said 7-Eleven Franchise Systems Vice President Greg Franks. “He’s smart, hard-working and a servant leader. Mark Anthony also is one of many highly qualified, retired military veterans that are joining the 7-Eleven Franchisee ranks this year. We are very gratified with the outcome of our Operation: Take Command program and the caliber of applicants and finalists the campaign attracted.”
To welcome the Granbury resident to the Burleson location and throw a customer-appreciation party for the neighborhood, 7-Eleven is holding a celebration at Page’s store Friday afternoon, Aug. 28.
Open to the public, the party gets underway at 4 p.m. and runs until 7 p.m. Activities include a Slurpee truck on site with staffers handing out free small-sized cups of the iconic semi-frozen carbonated beverage. Rounding out the early evening activities will be an appearance by the Slurpee costume character, a KLUV radio station deejay, prizes and free best-known 7-Eleven drinks and food sampling. Reduced prices on gasoline will be offered from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. that day.
Before the festivities, a ceremonial ribbon-cutting will take place, and Page will present a $711 check to benefit the Air Force Junior ROTC program at Burleson High School. The donation is part of 7-Eleven’s Project A-Game grant program that benefits non-profit youth education and sports initiatives.
Page says he’s always been committed to service; from when he was on active duty in the Navy, as a reservist, and later an educator and role-model for young people. A devoted family man with four children, Page believes running a 7-Eleven franchise will allow him to continue his commitment to community service. Page has reached out to Burleson ISD in hopes of creating a co-op program so that he can continue to mentor youth in the community.
After a tough start in life that included being a ward of the state for two years, Page moved in with his grandmother who had already raised 16 children of her own. He enlisted in the Navy just days after graduating from high school, seeing it both as a way out and a way up.
While in the reserves, Page attended college and earned a bachelor’s degree in communications and a master’s in kinesiology. He taught and coached in public schools before taking a position that required him to be away from his home and family. Believing a 7-Eleven franchise could be the ticket to be closer to home, Page entered the Operation: Take Command contest.
Calling his winning an “unbelievable” opportunity, Page said, “It was life-changing. As I moved through the levels of the contest, I started thinking maybe I really had a chance. Seeing people from here and even other countries that didn’t know me, but voted for my video on Facebook was very humbling. My wife was my biggest cheerleader. I couldn’t have done it without her.”
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 56,600 7-Eleven stores in 16 countries. 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; #2 on Entrepreneur magazine's 2015 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 www.7-Eleven.com.
SOURCE 7-Eleven, Inc.
PR Director for 7-Eleven, Inc.