Get to know Naod, Owner of Cleveland Park’s 7-Eleven
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Noad Ejigu moved from the very warm country of Ethiopia to the very cold city of Minneapolis, when he was fourteen years old. He spent just one year there when a summer vacation to Washington DC changed his life. His family journeyed to DC for an Ethiopian soccer tournament and Naod fell in love with the vibrance and diversity of the city. He persuaded his older sister, who had just graduated from high school, to move with him to DC. Having grown up in Ethiopia in his grandparents’ home, leaving his family was an easy decision for Naod to make. His parents did decide to move to DC to stay close to their children.
Naod and his sister settled in Alexandria and Naod graduated from TC Williams High School and bought his first house when he was 18. He earned his Associates degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management at NOVA and purchased some rental properties in the area. For the next fourteen years, Naod worked in DC at various places including Ruth Chris’s Steakhouse. It was in 2016 when Naod and his wife were expecting their first child that he realized he needed more flexibility with his schedule. He was inspired to apply to own a 7-Eleven Franchise after watching Joseph DePinto, the CEO of 7-Eleven, on the Oprah Winfrey show. As a student at NOVA, he had coincidentally written a paper about 7-Eleven for a business class. A representative from 7-Eleven contacted him at 7am soon after his application was submitted to invite him to an interview. Until this time, Naod had never actually stepped foot inside a 7-Eleven.
7-Eleven had been trying unsuccessfully for a while to open in Cleveland Park and thought Naod would be the perfect candidate to own this particular franchise because he seemed like a great fit with the community. From start to finish, it took one year to open the store and finally in May 2017 they cut the ribbon and opened their doors. Just as Naod was getting to know the community, a man wearing only underwear and a cowboy hat would stop by every day, much to the amusement of all of the employees.
Naod loves Cleveland Park and spends more time here than in his real home where his four children and wife, a military nurse, live. Everyone from all walks of life come into the 7-Eleven in Cleveland Park. It is popular with tourists, construction workers, police, neighbors and drivers such as Uber and Taxi. According to Naod, the Cleveland Park 7-Eleven is the cleanest in DC with the highest quality of food, and much beloved, especially by the drivers. Except the tourists, nearly everyone else who comes to 7-Eleven is a regular and knows all of the staff by name. 7-Eleven franchises are often one of the first businesses immigrants to the United States own and Naod hopes to stay in Cleveland Park for a long time.