The National Coalition—Then And Now
If you go back ten years and compare the National Coalition then to the National Coalition now, you can see drastic changes in the Coalition’s makeup, leadership, and organization. No longer can we be seen as a social club that gets together a few times a year to talk about issues. Today we are a group looked upon for support and guidance throughout our industry. We are viewed as an organization that stands up for franchisee rights and interests, and one that communicates franchisee issues at the highest levels inside the 7-Eleven system.
Four years ago a relatively new NCASEF executive team sat down to create a plan that would move the Coalition forward and develop a recognizable brand to help form a foundation for the Coalition’s future. How we interact with 7-Eleven, how we are viewed in the industry, how we deal with our vendor partners, and how the National Office operates were all topics up for discussion. When I look back at a timeline of the goals and objectives that we set to move the National Coalition forward, I must thank all of the NCASEF officers for the team effort that brought us to where we are now.
Today the vendor community, 7-Eleven, Inc. and the industry view us as a well-organized, professional organization that not only addresses franchisee issues, but takes a leadership role in the c-store industry. From day one our group tackled national legislative issues like credit and debit card interchange reform, cigarette excise tax increases, the soda sugar tax, online lottery, health care reform and environmental issues, to name a few.
We held regular meetings with the 7-Eleven executive team to discuss long-term systemic issues that affect every franchisee. Honest and open dialog about franchisee issues led to long debates with 7-Eleven upper management about what was best for franchisees and the franchise system. Spirited discussions about the DVR security system and remote access, franchise contract changes, franchisee rights, franchisee profitability, low volume stores, hot foods profitability, gasoline income and protecting our independent contractor status were all among the concerns discussed with 7-Eleven top management on an ongoing basis.
Improvements to the system—including EBT integration, elimination of CDC flat fees, and significant changes to the LA Business Transformation Pilot that led to the development of the Hybrid BT model—are a direct result of clear and open communication between the franchisees and leadership of the FOA of Greater Los Angeles, the National Coalition executive team, and 7-Eleven upper management.
Although it seems like yesterday, four years ago when the National Office came to Tucson, we sought to create a professional environment by putting an office staff in place to lead a coordinated effort to increase accountability and transparency at every level of the national franchisee organization. A website with a well-developed back room for convention and board meeting registration, and an office system with checks and balances that led to increased financial accountability was the result. We are fully satisfied that this system can be transferred to and utilized by the newly elected chairman and his staff.
Hiring a public relations firm to help us navigate through a complicated political system and ensure we were always going down the right path was critical. Developing a public website that would keep franchisees up-to-date on time-sensitive issues in almost real time resulted in a best-in-class product that franchisees can be proud of. After months of planning and development we ended up with a back room database that stores information about every store in the system. It also captures and saves data from every meeting participant, every convention exhibitor and sponsor, and every convention attendee. All were integral steps to achieving our goals.
In our charity work, the Coalition embarked on a mission to give back to the communities that we serve. Over the past four years, the National Coalition, on behalf of franchisees and in collaboration with 7-Eleven, Inc. and our vendor partners, will have donated over $1 million dollars to charity. Well deserving organizations such as MDA, St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital, Susan G. Komen For The Cure, and Hire Heroes USA benefited from the generosity of franchisees, 7-Eleven, Inc. and our vendor partners.
I am happy to say that franchisees from around the country continue to play integral roles in the communities they serve. Through our local FOAs we continue to give back to our neighborhoods through everything from golf tournaments, picnics and holiday parties, to a community-wide pancake breakfast.
The National Coalition has made a lot of progress in the last four years due to the hard work of an executive team that is dedicated to improving the system for the benefit of all franchisees. The National Coalition is strong and continues to grow as a result of the hard work and dedication of franchisees all around the country. Today, franchisees belong to an organization that is well respected and one they can be proud of.
As another holiday season approaches it is a good time to reflect back on what is most important in our life, the time we spend with family and friends. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the people who have supported me over the last four years, for giving me the encouragement to do what is right and the tools to succeed.
It has been an honor and a privilege to serve as chairman of the greatest franchisee organization for the past four years. The friendships I have developed with franchisees, vendor colleagues and 7-Eleven, Inc. will last a lifetime, and I will cherish them forever. I would like to wish everyone in the 7-Eleven family a Merry Christmas, a happy holiday season and a healthy and prosperous New Year.