Pablo Vega was born in New York City; his parents, natives of Ecuador and Puerto Rico, moved with him to Buffalo when he was three years old. Raised on Buffalo’s West Side, he went to college at Erie Community College, studying computers and technology. He is the first Hispanic owner of a 7-Eleven franchisee store in Buffalo.
Vega’s journey to be in business for himself began after he gained experience managing his family dry cleaning business. “My family started a dry cleaning business 13 years ago,” said Vega, now 29. “After my dad passed away in 2010, my mom continued the business; my two younger brothers and I were helping. I think that’s what motivated me to start my own business.”
When he heard that 7-Eleven was looking for people to occupy his current store, at 2458 Delaware Ave. in North Buffalo, he called and they helped begin the process of becoming a franchisee.
The special program he became a part of is 7-Eleven’s mission to include more minority-owned franchises.
“They sent me to 7-Eleven headquarters in Dallas for six weeks for training,” Vega explained. “We learned about the company and how they operate. They finance us, and teach us how to manage employees, do inventory and how to establish our business in a way that’s convenient and comfortable us.”
So far, he’s hired 11 employees. He’s confident in managing his business. He appreciates the community buying different products that he offers in his franchise. His vision is to expand his business and keep working to achieve his goals.
7-Eleven started this special program a couple of years ago. To encourage minority ownership of their franchises, they offer this without franchisees fees; through the program, the start-up costs are around $30,000.
“We are a diverse franchisee company; we always want to partner with individuals from different backgrounds, especially minority business people. We really want to continue to grow our minority owner population,” 7-Eleven Regional Franchise Sales Representative Mike Daddario said via a phone interview. He added that in this region, they have 72 new stores coming in 2017.
7-Eleven started this new program both to increase their diversity and recruit minorities in the region, and also to tap into the business perspectives of various individuals. The overall plan allows the corporation the opportunity to share resources with high-acumen businesspeople from different backgrounds.
7-Eleven is an international chain represented in 18 countries. According to their statistics, in America, over the last five years the franchising sector has added nearly 1 million jobs to the economy. Franchises add billions of dollars to the U.S. economy, and are predicted to continue growing as a segment.
Vega’s plans include possibly opening more 7-Eleven stores. “I grew up with almost nothing,” he said. “I’m still young. I tell younger people or anyone, set your goals. Don’t give up on your dreams.” K