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BURLESON, Texas — U.S. Navy veteran Mark Anthony Page, one of three military veterans who won 7-Eleven Inc.’s “Operation: Take Command” competition, will open his 7-Eleven store at 980 N.W. John Jones Drive in Burleson later this week, according to The Dallas Morning News.
Operation: Take Command awarded each of the three winners a waiver of the franchise fee, valued at up to $190,000, to franchise any of the company’s convenience stores available in the continental United States.
The contest was originally designed to award just one winner, but 7-Eleven CEO Joe DePinto — an Army veteran and West Point graduate — was “extremely impressed” by each of the candidates so all three were awarded stores.
The candidates progressed through several qualifications rounds, interviews and a Facebook video competition. Page, along with U.S. Army Captain Robert Kemma of Miami, Fla., and Army veteran Salil Gautam of Chesapeake, Va., were the winners, as CSNews Online previously reported.
"How can you pick just one winner when you have three? I was extremely impressed by each one of them for overcoming adversity, serving their country selflessly, having a heart for service and demonstrating outstanding leadership qualities. These are the kind of folks we want in the 7-Eleven system. They are all too deserving not to win,” DePinto said at the time.
Page, who is from Granbury, Texas, enlisted in the Navy days after graduating from high school. While in the Navy Reserve, he earned a bachelor's degree in communications and a master's degree in kinesiology. He taught and coached in public schools before taking a job that required him to travel a lot and spend time away from his wife and four children. He entered the 7-Eleven contest believing it was his “ticket to be closer to home.”
"This is life-changing," said Page. "It's very rare that you know someone who wins something big; you mainly see that on TV. As I moved through the levels of the contest, I started thinking maybe I had a chance. Seeing people from here and even other countries who 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."
Page is holding a grand-opening celebration Friday, Aug. 28 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Dallas-based 7-Eleven has an ongoing program for veterans that offers discounts on franchising.