Jun 23, 2017
A casual coincidence at a local food cart led to love and business for Elissa and Vince Guerra.
“It's funny how we met,” Vince says. “We actually met at a fruit stand. I was passing by and I saw her. That's how we met.”
“A fruit stand,” Elissa explains, “I was selling fruit. He invited me out to the movies, and he ditched me.”
“I got sick,” Vince responds sheepishly. “I got sick.”
“Lies,” Elissa teases.
This chance encounter at a Texas Rio Grande Valley street cart led to 16 years of courtship, marriage and children. “We're very much in love,” Vince says. And that easy partnership has them running a 7-Eleven franchise together in a small Texas town.
Schertz, home to the Guerra family, is about 20 miles from San Antonio. It was at a town assembly that the Guerras first came across representatives from 7-Eleven and began considering a franchise.
“We met them at a community meet and greet,” Elissa said. “We got along with them and several other community members. At that time, we were just looking to open another business and get it off the ground.” Vince was working on oil rigs and was looking for a change.
“We started talking about the store,” Elissa said. “They were like ‘Yeah, we're looking for franchisees.’ So we thought, ‘Well, you know what? Maybe it's something we should look into.’ They started talking to us about franchising a store. We talked about it, and we decided that, ‘You know? Let's give it a try.’’’
The pursuit of their dream began.
The Guerras decided to pursue their first 7-Eleven store in nearby Converse, less than four miles from Schertz. “We scouted 7-Elevens,” Elissa said, “and we decided for the one in Converse because it's closer to a school, and it was closer to our home and we could really just make a go.”
“Encouraged by members of the local 7-Eleven Franchise Owners Association, Vince and Elissa applied their background towards franchising a 7-Eleven in their neighborhood,” said Chris Beyer, their Franchise Sales Representative.
After a few months of negotiations with 7-Eleven, the Guerras were awarded a franchise. They found that 7-Eleven values diversity and has welcomed a number of Latino franchisees. The brand provides a great deal of support and an excellent marketing and in-store merchandising program. The Guerras, like all 7-Eleven Franchisees, would be the beneficiaries of a national advertising campaign that included bilingual ads featuring some of the most recognizable brand names like Slurpee®, Big Gulp® and Big Bite®.
Before opening their doors, the Guerras went through an extensive training program. The management team has been a big help in getting the store ready for opening, Elissa said. “They will send you emails galore. They'll put everything step by step. If you have questions, there are phone numbers. I'm texting, and calling, and emailing. [They] have been a great help.”
While owning a 7-Eleven franchise is hard work and requires nonstop attention, having a local business also provides a certain amount of freedom, especially when it comes to their four children. “We want something better for our kids,” Elissa said. “We want to be able to say, ‘Hey, the kids have a project. They have a presentation. They have choir. They have an event at school, so let’s drop what we're doing and let's go. [And then we say] okay, back to work.’”
With Vince home more often and the freedom of being their own boss, summers mean more time together and more visits to the water park. “Summer it was every other day we were at Schlitterbahn,” Elissa exclaims.
For the Guerras, owning their own 7-Eleven has supported their dream of successful parenting and successful entrepreneurship.
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