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Published January 25th, 2017
7-Eleven Owner Saleh is Moraga Business Person of the Year
Samir "Sam" Saleh doing what he loves best. Photo Cathy Dausman

Samir "Sam" Saleh is nearly a blur behind the counter; quickly bagging purchases, counting out change, greeting incoming customers with a cheery and personal, "What's going on?" or "How 'ya doing?"
The owner of Moraga's 7-Eleven was recently named Moraga Business Person of the Year, an honor he won "overwhelmingly," said Moraga Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Kathe Nelson. "He's so quiet about how he goes about his work," she said, yet he remains personable and very supportive of Moraga. "We (the chamber) have sponsored many events," Nelson continued, "and he is always there."
Saleh returns the compliment abundantly. "I feel safe (in Moraga)," he said, adding "this (store) is (my) family." He calls himself "outgoing" and says he laughs "a lot". His customers obviously feel similarly; seeing Saleh involved in a conversation, one started to dish up his own hot dog, while others will make the store a fresh pot of coffee when needed. "I've trained them," Saleh smiles.
Saleh also knows his regular customers so well he inquired if a certain reporter was new to town. Of course his franchise offers Slurpees, coffee, candy and lottery tickets, but it also features hot foods, a new trend Saleh says, and one which Nelson says fills a void given the closure of some Moraga fast food outlets.
Saleh has owned his Moraga franchise for more than 16 years. During that time he has seen multiple lottery winners, including an $89 million winner in 2001 and a $174,000 winner around the time of the Moraga sinkhole last spring. "I think it might have been a PG&E worker," he confides, saying that none of his regular lottery players admitted owning the winning ticket.
How many hours does the driving force behind the counter actually work at a store which is open around the clock? Saleh replies, "About 50 hours a week. I try to take Saturdays off, and usually end up getting three out of four (off)." Realizing his latest customer forgot his change, Saleh cut short his conversation to call after the man. "If I kept the change people forgot I'd make more than I do (in salary)," he laughed.
Saleh will be honored Feb. 28 at a dinner held at Moraga Country Club, 1600 St Andrews Drive. Reservations are required and can be made online at kathe@moragachamber.org; the cost is $55 per person.
Lamorinda Weekly business articles are intended to inform the community about local business activities, not to endorse a particular company, product or service.

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