Sunshine Seminars

7-Eleven holding next round of seminars, provides update on franchising efforts

Greg Lindenberg, Editor, CSP

PALM BAY, Fla. -- 7-Eleven Inc. is continuing to seek franchisees for its corporate-owned stores in Brevard County, Fla., reported Florida Today. The chain, with 39 locations in Brevard, said it believes franchisees are more vested in the success of a store than a company-hired manager. Today, Michael Da Re, 7-Eleven's franchise sales manager for the Melbourne/Daytona Beach area, will hold two three-hour seminars in Palm Bay on the requirements and benefits of operating one of the convenience stores.

"We are doing a special PR and marketing focus in Florida and [image-nocss] Virginia, and also targeting the Chicago, L.A. and Boston areas," Dallas-based 7-Eleven spokesperson Margaret Chabris told CSP Daily News. "We continue to grow towards being 100% franchised and welcome qualified applicants throughout the areas where we have stores."

Typically, 7-Eleven provides the land, building and equipment for its franchisees. The average upfront, total investment for a 7-Eleven franchise in the Brevard County area ranges from $85,000 to $320,000 based on the individual store's profitability, said the report. That money covers a store's opening inventory, supplies, business licenses, permits, bonds, cash register fund and the franchise fee.

The sessions will be third series of seminars the company has convened in Brevard since last year. Da Re said attendance at the seminars started out low but has been growing, probably due to current economic woes. People who fear losing their jobs or are worried about their nest egg seem to like the idea of controlling their own destiny, he told the newspaper.

"You have people in the 50-, 60-year-old range saying, 'I'm too young to retire and I want more control over my retirement fund.' And it's not just 7-Eleven; it's other franchises as well," he added.

Last May, 7-Eleven announced plans to convert approximately 475 additional company-operated 7-Eleven stores in Central Florida into franchised operations, offering new business opportunities to Floridians and other U.S. residents.

The conversion of company-operated stores in the Sunshine State began in January 2008 in South Florida. The change affects 7-Eleven stores in the greater Orlando, Tampa/St. Petersburg, Daytona and Fort Myers metropolitan areas.

Existing 7-Eleven store managers in Florida were the first invited to apply for a 7-Eleven franchise, and many have taken advantage of the opportunity.

"7-Eleven offers a proven business model [and] well-recognized brand," said Brad Jenkins, 7-Eleven division vice president for Florida operations. "Ours is an entry-level franchise that offers a variety of services for a new business operator. Franchisees have a vested interest in knowing their customers and communities as 7-Eleven grants much of the product assortment decision-making to each individual store. We believe that the franchisee, as a store operator, is in the best position to understand and respond to their local retail needs, which in turn, builds customer loyalty and sales."

As of last May, approximately 4,100, or 75% of 7-Eleven's almost 5,400 U.S. stores, have been franchised. 7-Eleven operates, franchises or licenses more than 7,500 stores in North America. Globally, 7-Eleven operates, franchises or licenses more than 34,100 stores in 14 countries. During 2007, 7-Eleven stores worldwide generated total sales of more than $46.6 billion.