Meet Alyson Rae Lawson, the CEO and founder of RaeLawson Enterprise LLC, a franchisee/operator of two 7-Eleven convenience stores with gas stations that are located right across the street from each other in Arlington, Texas. She is the only African American in her city to have accomplished this.
Originally from Dallas, Alyson is an HBCU graduate who earned her Bachelor of Science in Business Management from Hampton University and later, her Master of Business Administration from Texas A&M University.
She knew from an early age that she wanted to be a franchisee because her father franchised three McDonald’s in the Oak Cliff area when she was younger. By the age of 30, she herself was a 7-Eleven franchisee with not just one, but two locations.
She recently made history after partnering with a Black-owned wine brand whose products continue to sell out in her stores.
Challenges along the way
"It is never an easy road to being an entrepreneur," Alyson told Voyage Dallas. "Although 7-Eleven waves the purchasing fees, I was still left with the franchising fees and other costs that are associated with promoting my own business. It is always difficult financially beginning your own business."
She says that she believes the biggest struggle when having a business is employment. She comments, "In this industry, it is a challenge finding the best help and longevity because although I am there most of the day, I have to be able to trust my staff when I am not there. So the hiring process is very tedious and selective."
She also says that there are new challenges every day, but nonetheless, she describes herself as a team-oriented leader who combines motivation, drive, and the ability to adapt to various opportunities and work assignments. She says that she anticipates and readily accepts challenges.
In addition to running her 7-Eleven franchises, she is also a motivational speaker that empowers high school and college students.
Follow her on Instagram @7Eleven_RaeLawson