7-Eleven Provides Stage for Hire Heroes USA

Fundraising campaign to help vets return to workforce offers special pricing on select products

DALLAS -- 7-Eleven Inc. and a coalition of its franchise owners have partnered with some of their top suppliers, all leading U.S. brands, to raise money for Hire Heroes USA (HHUSA). This nonprofit organization offers transition, job search and job placement assistance and services for returning veterans of Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom, particularly those who have been wounded or disabled during their military service.

Customers can support the effort by purchasing specially marked products during April and May at participating 7-Eleven stores. A portion [image-nocss] from the sale of each item will be donated to HHUSA. Tags designating the donation amounts will be featured prominently throughout the store along with a special display of participating products.

Among companies joining in the effort are Nestle USA, Dr Pepper-Snapple Group, Tropicana Products Inc., Mars Inc., MillerCoors, Kellogg's and Kraft Foods. To encourage participation, many of the products are being offered at special prices during the two-month campaign.

"None of us can do enough to thank the wonderful American men and women in uniform who have served, and who continue to so selflessly serve, to protect our liberty and freedom," said 7-Eleven president and CEO Joe DePinto. "From my perspective, there is no higher calling. In many instances, these service members have paid the ultimate price or incurred wounds that will forever alter their lives. Hire Heroes USA is doing important work to ensure that when these veterans return home, they are able to find employment opportunities to support themselves and their families."

7-Eleven has pledged to fill at least two field consultant positions with qualified vets where available, and company representatives will participate in military-base workshops to discuss employment and franchising opportunities.

As a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization, Hire Heroes USA's mission is to offer transition support, job-search assistance and job-placement services to those who have honorably served in all branches of the U.S. military--and to their spouses--to reduce veteran unemployment. HUSA tries to match career interests, qualifications and transferable skills of veterans with the needs of hiring companies partnering with HHUSA. Veterans who served in Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom and/or those who are wounded or disabled, receive priority. Services are provided at no cost to the veteran.

"The transition back into civilian life can be challenging for service men and women, especially those wounded or disabled," said HHUSA president Brian Stann. "Many young veterans find themselves behind in terms of employment experience and networking in the civilian sector. The services we offer help ease the transition into civilian life and ensure these men and women have the opportunity to enjoy the freedoms they fought to preserve."

The National Coalition of Associations of 7-Eleven Franchisees (NCASEF), an umbrella organization of 7-Eleven U.S. franchisee associations across the country, has pledged its support to HHUSA and will donate the proceeds from its annual golf tournament this July, expected to be as much as $100,000, to the veterans' assistance organization. Last year, the NCASEF raised $100,000 for Hire Heroes through its Joe Saraceno Golf Tournament.

"7-Eleven franchisees first got involved with the Hire Heroes organization last year and really believe in the importance of its mission," said NCASEF chairman Bruce Maples. "So much so, that we recommended this cause to the company to give our customers an opportunity to help many worthy veterans."

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor 2010 statistics, veterans between the ages of 18 and 24 have an unemployment rate of 20.9%, and those between 25 and 34, 13.1%. Among the 2.2 million veterans who served in Gulf War-era II (those who have served since 2001), about one in four reported having a service-related disability. Of these, 81% were in the labor force, compared with 86.2% of veterans from this period with no service-related disability.

7-Eleven was named one of the Top 100 Military Friendly Employers, a list published annually by G.I. Jobs magazine. The only food retailer included, 7-Eleven ranked third among all retailers on the list. In 2009, the company initiated a military franchise program offering discounted franchisee fees to honorably discharged (either retired or separated) veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces.

7-Eleven has been honored by a number of companies and organizations recently. Accolades include: No. 2 on Forbes magazine's 2011 list of Top Franchises for the Money; No. 4 spot on Entrepreneur magazine's Franchise 500 list for 2009, No. 3 in Forbes magazine's Top 20 Franchises to Start, No. 3 among Top 100 Global Franchises by Franchise Direct, among G.I. Jobs magazine's Top 100 Military-Friendly Employers, No. 2 in Franchise Times Top 200 Franchise Companies, No. 6 in AllBusiness AllStar Franchise ranking and No. 29 among Top 100 Chains in Food Service. Hispanic Magazine named 7-Eleven in its Hispanic Corporate Top 100 Companies that provide the most opportunities to Hispanics. 7-Eleven recently was selected by three diversity publications as a company offering the best career and franchisee opportunities. In addition, Symphony IRI recognized 7-Eleven in its 2009 Shopper-Centric Marketing Innovation program, and 7-Eleven received the 2010 Retailer of the Year from PL Buyer because of the company's private-label brand initiative.

The company is franchising its stores in the U.S., and is expanding through organic growth, acquisitions and its Business Conversion Program.

The National Coalition of Associations of 7-Eleven Franchisees represents the 4,900 7-Eleven franchised stores and the 38 7-Eleven Franchise Owners' Associations in the United States, with more than 3,000 storeowner members.

Based in Dallas, 7-Eleven operates, franchises or licenses more than 8,400 7-Eleven stores in North America. Globally, there are more than 40,500 7-Eleven stores in 16 countries. During 2010, 7-Eleven stores worldwide generated total sales of more than $62.7 billion.