Seven Semifinalists in 7-Eleven's 'Operation: Take Command' Contest

DALLAS — 7-Eleven Inc. is letting the public help decide which of the seven semifinalists in its "Operation: Take Command" contest will move forward to the final round and possibly receive a 7-Eleven franchise without the expense of a franchise fee.

Seven military veterans were selected from nearly 1,900 applications received by the convenience store chain between Jan. 11 and Feb. 26. Each of the semifinalists have posted "Why I Should Win Operation: Take Command" videos online at From now through 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, May 22, the public can view the videos and vote for who they believe is the most qualified and talented semifinalist.

Anyone can vote once per day per Facebook account. The top three contenders will be determined based on the number of "Likes" their video receives. The finalists will then participate in one-on-one interviews with 7-Eleven President and CEO Joe DePinto. The winner will be announced in June.

Additionally, for every "Like" vote cast, 7-Eleven will contribute $1, up to $50,000, to Hire Heroes USA, a nonprofit organization that works with transitioning service members, veterans and spouses from military service into civilian success.

"Military veterans have proved to be some of our most successful franchisees," stated Larry Hughes, 7-Eleven's vice president of franchise systems. "Not surprisingly, the quality of the service men and women who have applied for a franchise fee-free 7-Eleven store in this year's Operation: Take Command contest has been nothing short of remarkable. The public has its work cut out for them in selecting who advances to the final round."

The winner will receive a waiver of the franchise fee, valued at up to $190,000, to franchise any of the company's 7-Eleven convenience stores available in the continental U.S. at the contest's culmination.

The seven semifinalists are:

  • Jean Cetoute from Richlands, N.C.
  • Scott Jackson from Chicago
  • Aditya Khurana from Harlingen, Texas
  • Estrella Martinez from Woodbridge, Va.
  • Robert Tutor from Sultan, Wash.
  • Stephen Valley from Fairfax, Va.
  • Randall Youmans from Fort Washington, Md.

To qualify for the contest, entrants had to be 21 years of age or older, a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, an honorably discharged veteran, have excellent credit and at least three years of leadership, retail or restaurant experience. Contestants went through the same qualification process as all 7-Eleven franchise applicants including interviews, credit evaluation, a leadership test, and preparing a business plan and budget. 

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