Our business model is our strength, but our franchisees are the backbone of our organization, and we are proud to share their stories. After all, their success is our success!
For over 25 years, Martin Vallejo has embraced ARCO and ampm's franchising plan and used it to his advantage, and the partnership has blossomed since! Vallejo, a proud immigrant and father, understands the value of hard work, tenacity, and customer service. He credits much of his success to merely following the plan. From his perspective, "Customer service is invaluable to my success. I respect my customers and make sure my (8) sites are always clean and well stocked with products they like," says Vallejo. "Customers recognize the importance of being valued, and that cultivates loyalty."
Vallejo proudly boasts about family first, but to him, it extends further than his immediate growing family – it reaches his chosen family in the ARCO community and his site personnel. "ARCO personnel helped me get started, and for that, I am forever grateful. They've encouraged me to take (calculated) risks while helping me along the way. Now with eight sites, I can help secure my family's future, and there is nothing more important to me than that! What is also gratifying is that I can give back to my community too."
For Vallejo, his business is a family affair. His sons Martin Jr. and Michael help run the business alongside their dad, "I came back to the business after college knowing that everything I work for benefits our family direct," says Martin Vallejo, Jr.
“We are accomplished because we work hard. We know our future success is built on what we do today. Our outlook is strong because of our vision, dedication, and because ARCO believes in us.”
Kevin Bibayan and Nathan Toobian have taken a fearless, yet calculated approach to be young entrepreneurs. Cousins by blood but business partners by choice, the dynamic duo were raised in the Los Angeles area. “ARCO is synonymous with Southern California. If you grew up here, you know and trust the brand. As business owners, we appreciate the instant brand recognition because it sells,” says Bibayan.
Second generation gas station owners, the young and savvy businessmen broke away from their respective families to start their own business independently. Together, their goal is to capitalize on new growth opportunities. Their strategy is to turn independent gas stations into ARCO stations because the power of the brand.
“Our success is based on trust, built on humility and by balancing our workload,” says Toobian. “We are smart, but we are also humble. We look to the ARCO team for situational guidance and are fortunate that we can lean on the tight-knit ARCO franchise community to brainstorm. It’s a true partnership.”
A top performer, Ara Wansikehian, has figured out an effective formula for successfully running his high-volume, fast-paced business. “It’s simple. ARCO has instant brand equity. I know my business area, and together we are successful!” says Wansikehian.
Wansikehian learned about ARCO as cashier over 38 years ago. An architecture student, he came to the United States to finish his studies. Soon after, fate intervened, and after three years of hard work, long hours and a vision, Wansikehian purchased his first ARCO station.
Today, a multi-site owner, Wansikehian’s sites are known for being impeccable. He continuously lands perfect scores for compliance at his sites and credits that success to his dedicated employees.
“The ARCO partnership makes running my business easy. They’ve simplified everything for me so I can focus on other areas. It’s true teamwork!"
The Chandis are a dynamic, business-savvy duo who started their venture with a single independent gas station. The two are both immigrants—Susana came from Mexico and Nachhattar (Chandi as he is called) came from India. Their great success came by establishing a vision, understanding their consumer base, and dedicating themselves to working hard.
“We are the American Dream. We started from scratch and built an enterprise bigger than we could have imagined,” says Chandi. “Together, Susana and I established our success by cultivating a foundation of strong employees and partnering with the best brand—ARCO.”
Loyal to the ARCO brand, the Chandi’s have owned over 20 ARCO and ampm gas stations throughout California and attribute their achievements—just as they do their business ventures—to dividing and conquering. Susana has a keen business sense and focuses on operations, while Chandi has a sharp vision and concentrates on development.
“We have been blessed with much success, and it’s gratifying to be able to share it with our employees,” says Susana. “ARCO nurtured our expansion and success. They treat us like family and that’s how we treat our employees.”
Over the years, Mike Sater has opened more than 80 ARCO stations throughout Southern California. An engineer by trade, the entrepreneur started his legacy with ARCO franchising by working with his older brother at his ARCO station. An astute apprentice, Sater learned the business from all perspectives. Soon after, he branched off to start his own endeavor with a keen business sense and excellent customer service.
“We are in the customer service industry and we know they have options. Together with ARCO management, we plan our business based on consumer expectations,” says Sater. “ARCO’s longevity and our strong relationship with company leadership is a testament to our success! I’ve been in this business since 1979 and have learned you have to believe in the brand you partner with.”
A mentor to his sons Abraham and Hassan, Sater is grooming them to take over the business he is so passionate about. “My first piece of advice to them is to love what they do and they’ll enjoy their successes more. I love what I do!”
An electrical and civil engineer by trade, Oscar Etemadian embraced his entrepreneurial spirit to build a business he loves from the ground up – literally. A tactical businessman, Etemadian calculates each move carefully.
“ARCO shares my vision for long-term success. Their infrastructure is built behind consistency, and I can trust they will help guide my business as carefully as I do,” says Etemadian. “My success comes from not taking shortcuts and understanding today’s customers and their expectations.”
A family affair, Dr. Ash Etemadian practices internal medicine but notes the family business gives him the flexibility to satisfy the entrepreneurial spirit which is inherent in his DNA.
“The best part of our family business is working with my dad. He taught me from a young age that hard work is where it starts,” says Dr. Etemadian. “ARCO is for anyone with a vision and the drive to fulfill it. Just like my dad, I apply the concepts I’ve learned in my field to our family business and it works!”
Once a mechanic’s apprentice, Mohammad Bahmani had visions of being an entrepreneur. Together with his wife Heidi, the two set out to build their family business from scratch based on hard work, dedication and trust.
“We’ve come a long way from our early beginnings and I could not be more content. This business is a family affair. Our children were raised at our first store and can merchandise alongside our best employees,” says Mohammad Bahmani. “I’m proud that my wife and I built our success together, and we did it with the best company imaginable – ARCO. With ARCO and ampm we get consistency with quality product and equally as important, their management.”
A former bank teller, Heidi Bahmani takes a holistic view of their business. “I’ve taken the time to learn the entire business and by doing so, I can guide our employees and advise on business decisions,” says Heidi. “Our success is based on following ARCO and ampm’s direction and the mutual respect my husband and I have for each other. With ARCO and ampm, we know their plans are tried and tested, so we can trust their direction. The beauty of our family relationship is that we are partners in life as well as in business and we respect each other’s strengths – one person is not great at everything – that’s why our business thrives!”
After running a stable of 45 independent gas stations from Southern California to Arizona, Humberto Flores took a no-nonsense approach to learn the fuel and convenience store business, hands on. A discerning businessman, Flores knows how to sell gas – he built his enterprise by turning failing stations into a flourishing success stories and has never looked back!
“From the moment I opened my first ARCO and ampm station, I knew it would be a success. It was the perfect partnership for the right location,” says Flores.
Focused and determined, Flores uses his business acumen to turn his vision into a profitable reality.
Aa a multi-site owner, Flores says, “The consumer experience makes a difference in this industry. By training my supervisors and staff properly, I can rest assured that the business will run the way I want it to—hassle free.”
Set on learning the business his father built, Flores Jr. says, “I want to learn the ropes from the best! I want to make him proud.”