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DALLAS — Thousands of veterans are enlisting in 7-Eleven Inc.'s second-annual "Operation: Take Command" franchise giveaway, targeted exclusively to U.S. military veterans. More than 9,000 entries have been received to date, already exceeding last year's total number of entrants, the convenience store retailer announced.
For the second consecutive year, the chain is recruiting qualified men and women who have been honorably discharged to enlist in the competition, as CSNews Online previously reported. One winning veteran will be awarded a 7-Eleven franchise fee-free, valued at up to $190,000.
Interested veterans who are first-time 7-Eleven franchise applicants can enter online at www.VeteransFranchiseGiveaway.com through Friday, Feb. 26. The winner will be announced in June.
"This is a great opportunity for a veteran to take charge of his or her future," said Larry Hughes, 7-Eleven's vice president of franchise systems, a West Point graduate and U.S. Army veteran. "Veterans have a proven track record as 7-Eleven franchisees. Leadership and character, systems orientation, discipline, the ability to build teams … the qualities that are stressed in the military are the same ones that lead to success in our system."
Many of the veterans who have entered this year's competition hold bachelor's and graduate degrees and possess business, retail and management skills, according to 7-Eleven.
The Operation: Take Command franchise giveaway is a multi-phased competition that includes meeting 7-Eleven's franchising qualifications and successfully completing interviews.
The top 25 entrants will be invited to submit a video on why they deserve a 7-Eleven franchise. Up to seven will be selected for the semifinal round, which will include a Facebook video contest. The three who get the most Facebook votes will be interviewed by 7-Eleven's franchise department and then narrowed down to one winner.
To qualify for the contest, an entrant must be aged 21 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 will go through the same qualification process as all 7-Eleven franchise applicants, including credit evaluation, a leadership test, business plan development, budget and location preferences.
"Response to this year's Operation: Take Command has already surpassed last year, I think in part because veterans recognize what a great opportunity owning a 7-Eleven franchise can be and that 7-Eleven is a military-friendly company on all fronts," Hughes added. "Five of the top 10 finalists in last year's contest are now 7-Eleven franchisees."
In 2015, 7-Eleven named three winners in its inaugural Operation: Take Command competition, rather than a single winner.