Apr 23, 2015
On owning his own 7-Eleven® store, Bryon Bennett has praise for the convenience retailing company: great training, constant contact with company reps, and an unmatched set of tools to help him track activity, down to a Slurpee® cup. Even if you don’t obsess about Slurpee numbers, Bennett says something that can be universally appreciated: “I’m my own boss.”
By 18, Bennett was basically running his prior boss’ liquor store for him. That set him up for the job he really wanted at a supermarket where he’d started as a busboy, and where he moved up to store manager by his early 20s.
His age and quick ascent turned more than a few heads. “‘Boy, I am twice your age and some. I’ve seen managers come and go,’” Bennett remembers hearing. “Well, I’m here to stay, baby,“ he’d replied. “I don’t know about the rest of them, but I’m here to make it.” And he did.
The grocery store ventured into Albuquerque, and the company put out a call for talent to come to the new market. Bennett—young and willing to try anything—took the challenge and moved.
After a few years there, he got a call from a friend, a newly minted 7-Eleven franchise was interested in having the energetic California man become its owner. He had the will and the capital. “My friend called me up, and he says, ‘Bryon, this is the thing for you. You got to do this. You’re going to love it,’” Bennett recalls. He remembers liking that it was hands on, and that he would remain an active figure in his business if he took it on. The other thing he enjoyed: “There’s nobody to tell you what to do. You’re doing a little bit of everything,” he said. Bennett and his wife, Margie, signed on soon thereafter.
Even with Bennett’s business background and a training program he describes as “the best, hands down,” he shared that being your own boss isn’t something one should take lightly. But hard work plus 7-Eleven’s support system paid off! Bennett extolled how today their latest cash-report system makes his financial records available five minutes after request. He has access to a robust inventory system that can show how items have performed in a four-week reporting period, on top of just showing you what you have. “Our information system has got to be one of the best,” he exclaimed. “It’s a valuable tool no one starting a business on their own has access to!”
Today, Bennett franchises a 7-Eleven store in Montebello, Calif. Jobs he’s created have supported college studies and vocational schooling. Bennett can claim at least one master’s degree holder, a couple of teachers and a probations officer among his former employees. He shows pride in his employees’ self-actualization. “You’re here. I’m going to help you finish college. You are not going to be here when you graduate,” Bennett would tell his student employees. But, if they came back, he knows 7-Eleven’s training will ensure their success.
“If you're going to get a franchise, this is the best,” Bennett said. “7-Eleven’s training creates the foundation for you to succeed in any community where you open a store. It’s all about what you make of it!”
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