What A Convention! Hire Heroes And The Urban Store Concept
Something special happens when 7-Eleven franchisees get together at the National Coalition Convention and Trade Show, an event that has taken place for 38 years. The very nature of our business demands that franchisees talk to each other, share information, network, and learn as much as we can about our system and our industry. I am pleased to say at the 2013 National Convention and Trade Show at the Venetian Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas in July we had a record turnout, with more than 1500 franchisees and their families and 800 of our vendor partners attending. In all, the 2013 trade show had over 280 booths and 60 major sponsors over the four-and-a-half-day show. I would like to thank all of our major sponsor and exhibitor partners for your support, as it is your support that makes our franchisee convention possible.
We have announced the National Coalition’s 39th convention will be at the beautiful Dolphin Hotel at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, July 12-16, 2014. We will be doing something very special at this event, so mark your calendar for 2014. I hope to see you there.
One of the highlights of our 2013 convention was the announcement that the National Coalition, in cooperation with 7-Eleven, Inc. and 15 of our vendor partners, is part of an effort that will raise over $750,000 for Hire Heroes USA, a very special organization that conducts workshops and seminars to provide job assistance that helps military veterans and their families reintegrate into civilian life. This is the single largest contribution ever made by the National Coalition to any group, and I would like to thank personally 7-Eleven, Inc., and the 15 participating vendor companies for their strong support: Hershey, Kellogg’s, Wrigley, Anheuser-Busch, E&J Gallo Winery, BIC, MillerCoors, Nestlé Professional, Mars, Mondelēz International, Perfetti Van Melle, MET-Rx, General Mills, PepsiCo and Nestlé Waters.
Over a two-month period—November and December, 2013—the participating vendors will offer Hire Heroes products that franchisees can order for their stores. A portion of each product sold to guests will be donated to the Hire Heroes organization. The incredible commitment and support from the franchisee community has enabled this program to grow in each of the last three years. (To see what products will be eligible in November and December to support Hire Heroes, see the September/October issue of Avanti.)
Over the four years that we have been involved, the National Coalition, 7-Eleven and vendor partners have now raised more than $1.3 million through donations and cause equity programs for Hire Heroes USA. With initial donations, since 2010, Hire Heroes has gotten nearly 1,000 veterans hired, completed 5,000 professional resumes, and conducted 86 workshops at 26 bases for more than 1,100 service members and spouses. We are proud of this accomplishment, and of our support of the individuals who protect our country and keep us strong.
Our good work and convention fundraising did not stop there. During the live and silent auctions at our Wednesday evening event, franchisees and vendor attendees in one night raised $98,000 for Susan G. Komen For The Cure.
One compelling role the National Coalition can play for franchisees is to provide access to 7-Eleven, Inc. senior management at our convention. During his presentation on the “state-of-the-system” to franchisees, SEI Senior VP Bill Engen described dollar sales growth in Zones across the country, reviewed sales data, customer counts and the fastest growing categories, and took an hour and a half of questions from franchisees.
Senior VP Social Media Rob Chumley gave perhaps the most interesting SEI presentation at the convention on the new Urban Store Concept, the test store for which is now open at 111 John Street in New York City. Two more—one each in Chicago and San Francisco—will open before the end of the year.
These stores embody 7-Eleven’s newest concepts for downtown city stores and a new urban store design. New ideas being incorporated and tested in NYC include redesigned store parts for fruits and veggies and ready-to-eat meals, beer, refrigerated beverages and snacks, sweet and salty snacks, candy and household goods, and HBC. Even more interesting, fresh meals will be prepared on-site, stores will have a “recharge” area with seating and WiFi, customers can order at a kiosk, and there will be a foodservice counter. The new concept store does not have a vault, as all bottles and cans will be held in reach-in fixtures. Digital displays are used for an external sign, a register POS, menu boards, the Slurpee machine door, and the seating area.
So much more happened at the national convention and trade show! I am pleased to announce that for the first time we have posted all of the photos taken by the NCASEF photographer at the convention on our website. Visit www. ncasef.com to take a look at your friends and colleagues and download those you want for your collection. I’m looking forward to seeing everyone at next year’s show in Orlando.