Take Pride in What You’re Selling
Javier Gomez is a store manager turned entrepreneur. His love affair with the 7-Eleven brand began when he was a kid in Laredo, Texas. It all started with a Slurpee®. “I was amazed by the taste and the store too. It was a brand-new store, a block away from my house.” Javier eventually became a 7-Eleven corporate store manager.
“I loved being a corporate store manager. Being at the store, in the field, interacting with customers and then having your own crew to inspire and work with was a passion of mine,” he shared.
Entrepreneurial and conservative with his money, he saved and reinvested in a few steadily growing real estate holdings in the booming market of Austin, Texas. When the time came to diversify and think of the future, he chose 7-Eleven.
“To be honest, I didn’t look at other franchises,” he stated nonchalantly. “Owning a franchise you have a lot of support and you're owning a 7-Eleven franchise, so they already have laid the groundwork for you. The systems, the fresh products and the items the community wants, it’s all there.”
When he first thought of getting a store, he prepared for it as any Franchisee would. He gathered capital and backed it with his managerial know-how. Javier then heard of the Store Manager Franchisee Assistance Program. Since he spent years making corporate stores profitable, he was a candidate for special benefits: financial support, incentivized corporate benefits, and a host of other items.
Like any other Franchisee, opening his first store came with concerns and fears. Franchisees run a small business. Each store has its own challenges. Franchisees meet them by overseeing store operations, leading employees, and managing inventory with skill and efficiency.
“I've only been at this store for a short while but I learned a lot of the customers' names, and when they walk in I'm able to interact with them on a personal level. I always ask them, ‘You want the usual?’ and chitchat about personal stuff. It makes them feel like a part of the store. A place where people know your name.”
His training program combined classroom and in-store training on tips on enhancing operations, merchandising and procedures, financial structuring and employee relations. The team you build can be key and Javier stressed they are as important to him as the community he serves.
“I create a culture of caring with my employees. I build a team that's flexible so they can cover each other in times of need. It’s a good approach. It makes them have a personal attachment to you. It’s worked for me. Once I do build a team, they stay with me quite a long time.”
Because of his unique perspective and experience in turning stores around, we asked Javier what it takes to be a successful Franchisee. “You have to be a people's person,” he replied with a smile. “You've really got to back up the quality you sell in your store with a place where people want to come. Build a relationship with the neighborhood that your store is in and then allow your employees to be themselves, because when they feel comfortable, they smile. Take pride in what you're selling.”