We Are More Than A Neighborhood Convenience Store
By Joe Rossi, NCASEF Executive Vice Chair
7-Eleven franchisees are more than just store operators, we’re active members of our communities. In a sense, we are the often-overlooked good neighbors—we’re seen, but not many people realize just how much we contribute to the community. Sure, our stores are known as the place to go for a refreshing Slurpee or Big Gulp on a hot summer day, but we’re also there to lend a helping hand when the situation calls.
We do this by sponsoring local events, supporting law enforcement programs, and by raising funds for special causes or charities like cancer research and children’s hospitals, to name a few. Some of us look out for the most vulnerable people in our neighborhoods by providing them with free food or clothes. Others are involved with their local schools by setting up scholarships or by assisting with after-school programs.
During times of natural disaster—be it hurricanes, tornadoes, wildfires, or blizzards—our stores remain open to serve our community. When Texas was hit with an ice storm and sub-freezing temperatures early last year and power was knocked out in most of the state, most Texas 7-Eleven stores remained open. Those with electricity set up phone charging stations for their customers to use, while others continued to operate even without electricity nor a functioning POS. During the Northern California wildfires of 2017, some 7-Eleven stores served as makeshift command posts for firefighters, and provided them with drinking water and food. More recently, we remained open throughout the COVID-19 pandemic to support our communities, health workers and first responders as much as we could. Franchisees worked many shifts in their stores throughout the pandemic as their employees became ill or abandoned them in favor of the generous unemployment benefits offered by the government.
On a larger scale, we often team up with our franchisor to raise funds for American Red Cross disaster relief programs through in-store canister or round-up campaigns, as we recently did with the Ukraine Humanitarian Crisis Fund. In the past we’ve done this to help areas hit by hurricanes and other natural disasters, and we will continue to do so.
In these instances and many others—then, now, and in the future—7-Eleven franchisees and our stores provide a necessary lifeline to our communities, which unfortunately often goes unrecognized by the public at large. But the officers of the NCASEF plan to change that, by publicizing our contributions on social media and other outlets for the public to see and take notice. We feel it’s important that everyone knows just how much we give back and how much value we bring to our neighborhoods.
In the meantime, we should all continue the good work of being socially responsible members of our communities. As I wrote in my last article, we are not islands unto ourselves. We are at our best when we are helping others.