Franchising has become one of the most common routes for Filipinos seeking for financial independence. To find potential success in any franchise business venture, one of the most pertinent decisions to make would be choosing a trusted product—one that offers a profitable business model.
This is what led to the success story of Lester Mark Yee, whose smart investment in a C-store brand has led him not only to entrepreneurial fulfillment but to a rewarding business journey.
The 38-year-old Antique native is one of the many pioneering and proud partners that led 7-Eleven’s milestone franchise expansion success in the south in 2012.
“We started our business partnership with 7-Eleven when Chevron Philippines Inc. [Caltex] tied up with Philippine Seven Corp. to convert our mini mart into a branded convenience store. The investment package offered to us as Caltex retailer is very enticing. It’s a total package [products, store design/layout, systems, marketing, among others] which is worth our investment and also complements our Caltex Station,” says Yee.
“We are one of the first batch of stores that opened in Cebu in 2012, making us part of both 7-Eleven and PSC’s historic Cebu launching. I personally believe that 7-Eleven would mark in the heart of our Caltex customers in Cebu, considering that it will be the first in this area,” he says.
The 7-Eleven franchise package includes a one month preparatory training. Upon completion, Yee and his team were fully ready when they opened the company’s first 7-Eleven store, the Caltex NRA outlet in Mandaue City in July 2012.
“We learned the A to Z of store operation. As a company, we also aimed in becoming the best franchisee of 7-Eleven stores for the emerging markets in the Philippines, with God as the center of our business. We commit in providing customer needs and wants and making their daily life easier via modern convenience stores,” he says.
Prior to franchising 7-Eleven outlets, Yee’s source of business savvy was his early training and exposure to the family business. His family owns and manages various businesses in Antique and Cebu under the Esprutingkle Group of Companies. Aside from being a certified public accountant, Yee says that being involved in the family business at an early age has helped him develop the skills and experience that greatly prepared him in running their C-stores.
Being the manager of a flagship outlet outside Luzon, Yee admits encountering challenges during their pilot operations. But with PSC’s guidance and all-out system support, Yee is proud to rise above the setbacks.
“There are areas for improvement since it is their first time outside Luzon, nevertheless our store ran successfully because of the collaboration of all the stakeholders,” he says.
“We are confident and we feel secured with our investment with 7-Eleven because of the total package of the brand. Aside from a world-renowned name and highly successful franchise system, the c-store chain’s effective marketing techniques were built on years of successful global operations. Not to mention its profitability and market acceptability,”says Yee.
Now into fourth year as a franchisee, Yee’s group now owns and manages a total of 23 stores across the entire islands of Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. Growing rapidly and successfully along with the venture, Yee says they are currently applying for more additional stores. “We apply for stores where there are PSC expansions because we want to grow across the country.”
Today, Yee says they employ a total of 191 staff.
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