HARLINGEN — Nearly 1,900 applicants started the 7-Eleven contest in which the lucky winner essentially will be handed a franchise.
This week, the group was trimmed to seven. One of them is Army Capt. Aditya Khurana of Harlingen.
Khurana is a logistics officer for the 319th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion. A native of India, he immigrated to the United States and lived in Puerto Rico. Ten years ago, he joined the Army.
The contest, Operation: Take Command, will essentially give the winner a 7-Eleven franchise since the company will waive the $190,000 franchise fee.
“It’s an investment opportunity,” Khurana said earlier this week of the possibility of winning the contest.
“I’ve always wanted to work for myself and see how that works out,” he added. “I worked for lot of people; I’ve made a lot of money for other people.”
Khurana is the only remaining contestant from Texas. Entrants had to be over 21, a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, be an active or honorably discharged military member, have excellent credit and three years of leadership, retail or restaurant experience.
The Army captain said he’s open to operating a 7-Eleven franchise, but it has to be the right financial fit for him.
“Basically, at the end of the day, it comes down to cold, hard numbers,” Khurana said. “Looking at it practically, if I can replace my salary along with a little bit on top, I’d be interested in it.”
“That’s basically the gist and crux of it,” he said.
Khurana said he’ been candid with 7-Eleven on this, and he said they understand his position.
Still, a convenience store of one’s own has a certain allure.
“On the other hand, I see that in San Antonio and in Houston, they’ve recently entered the market space, including here in Harlingen,” he added. “I’d be open to any of those possibilities.
This is the second year 7-Eleven has conducted its Operation: Take Command contest.
For Khurana, it’s an opportunity to own his own business and put in 75 hours a week doing so.
“I’m working 75 hours a week anyway!” he said. “I’m the operations officer of a logistics battalion of 625 soldiers.
“It’s a lot of work” he said. “Uncle Sam expects to get his money’s worth.”
For Khurana, it’s also a long way from the streets of Puerto Rico where he grew up after he left India.
“My first job in the United States was selling chewing gum at a traffic light, so I’ve come a long way,” Khurana said. “This should be another adventurous undertaking if it does happen.”
How to vote
The seven contestants remaining in this year’s event, including Khurana, have all posted videos to the 7-Eleven website on why they should win. To see those videos, and to vote on which one you like best, go to www.VeteransFranchiseGiveaway.com
The votes will be a contributing factor to which three of the contestants move through to the final round, which includes an interview with President and CEO Joe DePinto, who is former military himself. A winner should be announced in June.