Let's Talk Franchising with a 7-Eleven Superstar
We could easily give you a long list of reasons why franchising with the world’s #1 convenience store is smart and easier than you think. But we don’t want you take it from us. We’d rather you listen to someone who’s doing it exactly right.
Meet Adam Radogna, a successful 7-Eleven Franchisee who took time out of his day to answer a few questions about his career. Adam is doing an extraordinary job, so if you’d like to know more – and if you happen to be in the Cleveland area – stop by his store for a visit. He’d be happy to answer your questions and show you around!
Q: What were you doing before you became a Franchisee?
A: When I was 19 years old, I was working as a third-shift employee at an ampm convenience store. I worked hard, and several months later got promoted to assistant manager, then manager. When 7-Eleven purchased the store, they offered me additional training and the chance to become one of their corporate store managers. So I took them up on their offer!
Q: Did you plan on becoming a Franchisee?
A: Not really. But as manager, I was already running the store as if it was mine. I also knew a lot about the business and had a growing passion for my work. And I definitely like the idea of being my own boss. Franchising seemed like a smart career decision.
Q: What surprised you most about the franchising process?
A: It was fast and easy! After doing some research, I went to a franchise seminar, applied and got approved. I also had access to my own Franchise Sales Representative, who was always available to answer my questions. The entire process moved very quickly and the changeover was smooth. It was exciting to have everyone there to help celebrate my grand opening.
Q: Was it difficult to finance your franchise?
A: I actually received financial support from two programs offered by 7-Eleven. The Store Manager Franchise Support Program offered me financial incentives because I was already a corporate store manager.
I also chose a Zero Franchise Fee store, which is a lower-volume store that’s offered with no franchise fee. The program required very little money down, and 7-Eleven even helped with financing. I got a great deal!
Q: In your opinion, what are your strengths and how have they helped you succeed?
A: I’m passionate about the convenience business. It’s something I know and love – so it doesn’t feel like work. I’m also positive. I know it’s not a perfect world, but being positive makes everything a lot easier. I also have a good work ethic, which has definitely helped me get this far.
Q: What’s next for you as a Franchisee?
A: Right now I’m planning on getting another store, which would make me a multiple-store Franchisee. Whatever I decide in the future, I know 7-Eleven will help me succeed.
THINKING OUTSIDE THE BOX
Adam explains how innovative thinking and customer loyalty play a big part in his success as a Franchisee.
Q: What does it take to succeed as a 7-Eleven Franchisee?
A: Of course, it takes patience, time and involvement in the business. I’ve also found that thinking outside the box helps, especially when it comes to customers’ needs.
Q: What do you mean by “thinking outside the box?”
A: It just means bringing in merchandise that you know your customers will be looking for. It helps to wear your entrepreneur hat when making these decisions.
Q: Can you give an example?
A: During the NBA playoffs and after the title win, I experimented by bringing in Cavaliers T-shirts to sell for $5. I sold $3,000 worth of shirts, so obviously it was something customers wanted.
I’ve also ordered yard mulch three separate times and sold out of all three deliveries. This was not offered in prior years, and it’s not something you’d expect to find at a convenience store. But I had a feeling it was something my customers would be interested in.
Q: How does 7-Eleven help you offer what your customers want?
A: For starters, our product assortment is huge. 7-Eleven also gives me lots of flexibility when it comes to choosing what to stock for my customers. Expanding and changing the assortment is also something I’m able to do regularly.
Q: Are there other ways 7-Eleven helps you build customer loyalty?
A: We’ve gained new customers through the 7-Eleven app. Coffee and fountain sales as well as hot food sales. I’m also getting lots of customer compliments through the Voice of the Customer portal. During the seven months since I’ve taken over the store I’ve seen a 6-10% sales increase every month.
Q: In your opinion, what keeps customers coming back?
A: That’s easy. Excellent customer service, retailer initiative – which is basically carrying products customers want, listening to customers, store cleanliness and fresh, hot food and grill options.
BEING A GOOD NEIGHBOR
The location of a 7-Eleven Franchise is a big deal. Not only will it play a part in how much traffic is driven to your store, location is all about community. It’s the schools you support, the people you know and the neighborhood you serve.
Q: How important is your store’s location to its success?
A: I always tell potential Franchisees to do a lot of research before they choose a location. It takes time and energy but it’s well worth it. The store and neighborhood you choose has to be a good fit. It really is a big part in your success.
Q: Tell us a little about your neighborhood. Why do you think it was such a good fit for your 7-Eleven franchise?
A: My store is located between three cities and is on two major roads. It’s also a half-mile from a major highway. This means I’m able to capitalize on the commuters as well as the residents and employees in nearby businesses.
Q: What do you do to help build relationships with your customers and your community?
A: For the past two years I’ve made contributions to the local high school and middle school. This includes grants, coupons and snack donations for PTA events. I’ve even participated in the schools’ fundraisers.
Q: Why is community involvement important to your store’s success?
A: It helps to build mutual support. My store is recognized in the community because of our involvement with local schools. One school put up a 7-Eleven banner in the gym because of the donations we’ve made. As a result, the teachers, faculty and parents patronize my business. And I always hear positive feedback from customers.
So now that you know parts of Adam’s story, you may be interested in our bigger Franchising story – especially if you’re the entrepreneur type looking for new ways to grow a career. 7-Eleven is consistently ranked as a top-five franchisor, our business model is turnkey and the support our Franchisees receive is hard to beat.
Learn more at one of our free, 10-minute webinars, or at a seminar near you. Our website has details, along with other Franchising information. Visit us at http://franchise.7-eleven.com/franchise/home.