We’re better together

Aug 23, 2017

A couple’s journey to owning their first store

Owning a 7-Eleven franchise can be a dream come true. Just ask Rosemary Anyanwu, who with husband Finian just joined the 7-Eleven franchise family.

“It's a miracle!" Anyanwu said.

7-Eleven provides a comprehensive training program, excellent advertising, marketing and in-store tools to help sell a variety of items including some of the world’s best-known brands like Slurpee®, Big Gulp® and Big Bite®. But sometimes, finding the right people on your own can make franchise ownership particularly rewarding.

“We've found very good employees and they're happy doing what they're doing,” Anyanwu said. “That's most important. You have to find people that are passionate about what they do.”

Anyanwu is the partner and chief support person for her husband, who left a job with the State of California to own his own business. The Anyanwus opened their first 7-Eleven less than two years ago in the town of Antioch. Located 35 miles northeast of the San Francisco/Oakland Bay Bridge, the town of 110,000 people is referred to as Gateway to the Delta.

It all began as a dream. “My husband kicked it off,” Anyanwu said. “[He was] just thinking it would be a good idea for him to own his own business, rather than waking up every day and going to work and not liking what he does at work.” He was facing a one-hour commute to and from his office every day.

“Then I asked him, ‘Well, what do you want to do?’” Rosemary said. And he replied, “Well, I want to own my own business.” She thought about the possibilities and caught the entrepreneurship bug right there and then. Together they started looking.

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Finian researched different businesses like small franchise start-ups, a gas station and convenience stores. He started reading more about how to own a business. Then he found 7-Eleven. The training and support seemed right up their alley. And they even offered to assist with the financing. It was a well-rounded deal. The Anyanwu’s had made up their mind.

At first, Rosemary was concerned they wouldn’t find an available 7-Eleven store nearby. She loved her neighborhood and preferred to have one in the community she knew best. Determined, Finian started looking, going online and searching for franchise opportunities. He found 7-Eleven locations available in Antioch and in Walnut Creek.

“We thought, the one in Antioch is close to home," Anyanwu said. “It's just five minutes away, so that's actually much better. Why drive 35 to 40 minutes, when you can just drive five minutes? You're there. It was amazing that one would be so close."

7-Eleven values diversity and actively welcomes numerous minority owners that reflect their community into their family of more than 60,000 stores. The Anyanwus passion for theirs showed. The tests were thorough, but they demonstrated their business acumen. Rosemary wasn’t sure if they got it, but Finian was confident. “They [7-Eleven] called us and said, ‘Hey, you guys. You're getting it!’" Anyanwu said. “And we're like, ‘Oh, my God! Oh, my God!’ It was a dream come true.”

Finian sent a resignation letter to his job and said, "Hey, it's my last day today." Everyone in the office was stunned. They would ask questions like “What happened? Did you win the lottery?" He said, "No, we own a 7-Eleven now.” Finian said that suddenly everyone in the office became interested in owning their own business.

“Rosemary and Finian became first time Franchisees in April of last year,” said Field Consultant Maria Kelly. “It is their first foray into retail and from day one they were eager to learn about the 7-Eleven Proprietary system that would help them serve their customers and community while growing the business. They have truly embraced the everyday challenges and are always ready to execute new programs to offer more one-stop shopping in their neighborhood.”

“We are best able to take care of our customers when we have engaged Franchise owners who live in and understand the neighborhoods in which they own stores,” added Dorian Cunion, Director of Franchise Systems.

While her husband was in training, Anyanwu cheered him on. “I kept encouraging him because it's better for someone to be happy doing what you’re doing rather than just going to work and not be happy with your boss. [You] serve the public and your neighborhood. You get to meet them, you get to know them. It's like every day you see somebody new. That just makes you happy. It's actually a good environment.” Her husband called all the training a real confidence builder.

With the right support team, success is inevitable. “7-Eleven is our partner,” Anyanwu said. “And it’s the right fit. You have to have that support to make sure you're going the right way. My husband and I working together with 7-Eleven just makes it easier. We’re better together.”

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