Why We Need an Independent National Coalition, Part 3: How to Maximize Effectiveness of the National Coalition

By John R. Irvine Jr., Franchisee, Detroit, Michigan

We have identified that franchisees are lucky to have a 44-year-old association of fellow franchisees in place. So how do we take this asset that we have and maximize it to give it teeth and raise it to the level of having the ability to take on any foe and defeat them? We don’t want the best lawyer that we can afford, we want the best legal minds in the country working to defend our rights. When we lobby for fair franchise legislation, we want to go to every fundraiser of every politician important to our cause.

Here is a list of my recommendations to maximize this tremendous asset we have called the National Coalition:

1. Raise the dues by $40 per month. $40 per month will go to a “Legal and Legislative Fund.” The money will be used for no other purpose but for what it is intended—legal and legislative objectives. If the National Coalition represents 4,500 stores that would be $40 x 4,500 = $180,000 x 12 = $2,160,000. I can hear the howls of “We can’t afford that.” Looking at the 2019 agreement, you can’t “not afford” it. Instead of taking the kids to McDonalds once a month, make them a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

2. Grow the membership. Any group of franchisees with 15 members or more can be recognized as a member FOA of the National Coalition. FOAs tend to be run by cliques. In the old days, one clique would lose an election and the next day they would start a new FOA. In Detroit, at one time I think we had four FOAs running. The point is I would rather have four FOAs running and all being members of the National Coalition than having the losing cliques simply quitting involvement with the National Coalition.

3. Have one major convention once per year in Las Vegas. Have four regional trade shows sharing the profits with all FOAs. Maximize vendor support with central and local planning—national vendors handled at the national level and interested local vendors handled at the local level.

4. Build a website that changes daily with news important to franchisees. Produce video highlights of all national and local events to show non-participating franchisees what they are missing out on. The website should include a chat room where every franchisee can express his opinion, ask a question, answer a question, inform about a potential problem, and disclose success stories.

5. Quarterly National Coalition meetings should be held at the cheapest central location that can be found. Traveling to exotic locations is an expense that does not serve the membership and is an unnecessary expense. The National Coalition is the last best hope to save this franchise. I believe that the 2004 agreement stabilized the company and led to an unprecedented period of success for both franchisees and the company. In contrast, the 2019 agreement is unsustainable over time and incentivizes franchisees to hold down sales and profit. The 2019 agreement is a disaster, for both franchisees and 7-Eleven, Inc.

I hope I answered the question “Why is an independent National Coalition important?” I have been a 7-Eleven franchisee for 48 years, and it has been an interesting ride. Just remember that whatever your local FOA or the National Coalition becomes or accomplishes is only possible with the support of individual franchisees. With 7-Eleven franchisee intervention, together, possibly we can save the system, or we can just let it die and look for new opportunities. God bless America, and God bless all the 7-Eleven franchisees world wide, because we need God’s help.