May 10, 2019
Sandra Owsley won the 2018 W.E. Take The Lead competition, and in April 2019, she was able to open her very own 7-Eleven store. Though the competition lasted a total of eight months, Sandra’s journey to 7-Eleven actually began several decades ago. While pursuing a business degree at the University of Miami, Sandra worked at a convenience store gas station. The store owner was young, and he was already very successful in the franchising field, which made an impression on Sandra.
Sandra, a Florida native, went on to spend 20 years in the retail industry, eventually working her way up to a district management position. Still inspired by her former boss’ success, she continued to look for more opportunities to grow in the convenience store industry. Luckily, a simple internet search led her to the 7-Eleven Franchising site, where she discovered a competition perfectly suited for her — W.E. Take the Lead. Sandra was thrilled to discover the business competition that gives one woman the chance to win her very own 7-Eleven franchise store.
We sat down with Sandra to get the scoop on her big victory.
“I read about the experience that 7-Eleven was looking for, and I thought, ‘Oh my gosh, that’s me!’ I have a very competitive spirit, and I’m very confident in my abilities.”
“Definitely when we were in the store interacting with customers. That’s where I excel. We were put in a 7-Eleven store to work for a day, and you worked in every area of that particular business. You’re being observed by the 7-Eleven leadership team the entire time, so they could see how well you engage your customers in real-life scenarios. All the candidates were amazing women in their own right, so it was stiff competition. Lots of experienced businesswomen. 7-Eleven did not just hand us the keys to a store, we had to earn it.”
“I’ve always loved the 7-Eleven brand. Growing up, 7-Eleven was the largest convenience store around my neighborhood and an important part of my childhood. 7-Eleven is a brand that everyone knows, and that was a big part of my decision to pursue it.”
“My field consultant, Joseph Long, is my go-to guy. We meet weekly. He helps me with any issues I’m having, anything that I’m having trouble with, and helps me solve whatever issues I’m facing. He’s been very, very helpful. He helps me navigate through all the components of having my own store.”
“7-Eleven is so forward-thinking. They provide tons of reports, and they’re all crucial to running your business every day. You have access to things that a lot of other retail stores don’t give you. For instance, my inventory. I can check on my inventory every single day, which is so helpful. I have full control over the amount that I could sell to customers. I don’t have to wait on a big truck that comes once a week. Some of my vendors come every night. That gives me the potential to buy more and sell more.”
“My focus and my goal with my team is to let customers know that we appreciate their business. The brand has been around for years, and we’re going to stick around. I want my customers to have that ‘at-home feeling’ when they’re in my store, and I want them to know that I appreciate their business. My team’s very excited about opening, and they love interacting with customers. We’re really pumped up to be here, and the feedback we get from the customers is that they love it.”
“Something I’ve always known that continues to hold true is that your employees are your biggest asset. They’re invaluable. They’ll go above and beyond if you treat them with respect. They have a wealth of knowledge, and if you don’t tap into that, you’re just making it harder on yourself. But if you partner with your team and you’re looking out for their best interests, they will step up and help you get things done.”
“My goal is to truly grasp the 7-Eleven business model and embrace it 100%. And to get my team to help me deliver one-of-a-kind service to our community. I also want to acquire another 7-Eleven store within six months to a year. That’s what I’m focused on right now.”
Congratulations, Sandra! We’re so proud of you and can’t wait to see your success!
You can do it, too! Apply here to become part of the 7-Eleven Franchise family.
Click one of the links below to find a store near you, or to register for a webinar or seminar. Our webinars are free and available throughout the week, and we probably have an upcoming seminar in your area: