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DALLAS — 7-Eleven Inc. launched the video competition portion of its "Operation: Take Command" franchise giveaway, which will grant a fee-free 7-Eleven franchise to a U.S. military veteran. From now through March 29, the public can view and vote for three finalists by visiting www.facebook.com/7ElevenFranchising and clicking on the contest tab.
The 10 semi-finalists, who collectively represent all branches of military service, were selected from more than 1,700 applications submitted to 7-Eleven between Veterans Day and Jan. 25. The nine men and one woman have posted their "Why I Should Win Operation: Take Command" videos on 7-Eleven's Facebook page.
After the public determines the top three contenders whose video and personal story they like best, they will have one-on-one interviews with 7-Eleven President and CEO Joe DePinto, who is also a former member of the military. DePinto will announce the contest winner in May.
To increase the impact of voting, 7-Eleven is offering 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.
"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's 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 10 semi-finalists are:
- Mark Boussy of San Antonio
- Stephen Darlow of Hampton, Va.
- Salil Gautam of Chesapeake, Va.
- Robert Kemna of Miami
- Raymond Kempisty of Laurel, Md.
- Mark Page of Granbury, Texas
- Justin Price of Charlotte, N.C.
- Maximiliano Powell of Woodbridge, Va.
- Vaughn Sullenberger of Virginia Beach, Va.
- Karen Woznicki of Grand Blanc, Mich.
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, according to the retailer.
The contest winner will receive a waiver of 7-Eleven's 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 end of the contest.