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  • Writer's pictureLucian@going2paris.net

Sheetz


Weirton, West Virginia

May 17, 2022


I like Sheetz. They make good use of a cheerful red color and their stores are usually clean and inviting. Their turkey sub is tasty and inexpensive though I could do with a bit less bread. Sheetz’ fuel prices are competitive — that means between $4.60 and $4.70 per gallon this week. I thought Charlottesville was high at $4.25 per gallon!


Good article from Wikipedia. Private company with annual sales > $7.5 BILLION!


From Wikipedia:


Sheetz, Inc. is an American chain of convenience stores and coffee shops owned by the Sheetz family. The stores sell custom food, beverages and convenience store items, with all locations having offered 24/7 service since the 1980s.[2] Nearly all of them sell gasoline; a few locations are full-scale truck stops, including showers and a laundromat. Sheetz's headquarters are in Altoona, Pennsylvania,[3] with stores being located in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Maryland, Ohio, Virginia, and North Carolina.



History


1952–1995


Sheetz, Inc. was founded by G. Robert "Bob" Sheetz in 1952 when he purchased one of his father's five dairy stores located in Altoona. In 1961, Bob hired his brother Steve to work part-time.


In 1963, the second store was opened under the name "Sheetz Kwik Shopper." A third store followed in 1968. In 1969, Steve became general manager. The brothers planned to expand at the rate of one store per year with a target of seven stores by 1972. In 1972, the company expanded from seven to fourteen stores. One year later, Sheetz began selling gasoline, and opened the first self-serve gas pumps in central Pennsylvania.


In 1981, Bob retired and Steve became president. By 1983, Bob and Steve had opened 100 stores.


1995–2013


In 1995, Stanton R. "Stan" Sheetz, Bob's son, became president and Steve assumed the position of chairman of the board.[4] To this day, Sheetz maintains a family business with four family members serving on the executive committee.


During the mid-1990s, Sheetz sold It! Cola, the chain's private-label brand of soft drinks available in cans, bottles, and as fountain drinks. The drink was discontinued and the fountains were replaced with Pepsi products. The chain now has both Pepsi and Coca-Cola products in the fountains.


In December 2004, they began offering the new Sheetz MasterCard PayPass with RFID technology, and was one of the first retailers to accept such technology, ahead of McDonald's, Arby's, CVS, and rival 7-Eleven, all of which introduced it nationally in 2006.


On July 10, 2006, Sheetz became Pennsylvania's second retail chain to offer E85 ethanol-based fuel alternative at select stations.


In 2008, Sheetz opened its first commissary, Sheetz Bros. Kitchen, to produce fresh sandwiches and bakery products that are sold at Sheetz locations.


In 2011, Sheetz gained national attention when it served as a major sponsor for Morgan Spurlock's film POM Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold. Sheetz actively promoted the film in stores, including selling collector cups, and Altoona even temporarily changed its name to "POM Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold, Pennsylvania" for $25,000. The name change was merely ceremonial, as it was not legally changed by the United States Board of Geographic Names, nor was it recognized by the United States Postal Service.


2013–present


In October 2013, Stan Sheetz became chairman of the board of Sheetz, with his cousin Joseph S. "Joe" Sheetz becoming president and CEO.


Published in November 2013, Kenneth Womack's Made to Order: The Sheetz Story traces the company's history from its dairy-store origins through the present day.

In 2014, Sheetz opened its second distribution center and kitchen facility in Burlington, North Carolina.


Sales for fiscal year 2018–2019 totaled $7.5 billion.


On November 29, 2019, Sheetz announced an expansion into Columbus, Ohio starting in 2021.[12][13] Currently, the major competitors in that area include Speedway, Circle K, GetGo, United Dairy Farmers, and the locally based Duchess Shoppe. Sheetz plans to open 60 locations in the Columbus area by 2025 (more than doubling its current store count in Ohio), with Sheetz COO Travis Sheetz telling The Columbus Dispatch that "we're not coming in lightly".[14] Locations already confirmed will be located in Obetz (near Rickenbacker International Airport), four locations in Columbus proper (including one just outside of John Glenn Columbus International Airport near Gahanna, one in the Northland area of northeast Columbus, and another near Hollywood Casino Columbus and the former Westland Mall), Circleville, South Bloomfield, Polaris, Reynoldsburg, Newark,[15] and two each in Delaware, New Albany and Hilliard; locations in Grove City & Lancaster (the latter due to its close proximity to an existing Sheetz location in Zanesville) are also expected.


Another location was planned in Worthington but was shelved due to local resident

opposition of the proposed site being next door to a water treatment plant.[17] In January 2021, Sheetz launched a website, SheetzIsComing.com, to prepare for its Columbus launch, with accompanying digital billboards to hype its arrival, while also becoming a presenting sponsor for local CBS affiliate WBNS-TV's newscasts. Upon Sheetz's official arrival in the area with the opening of the first of two stores in Delaware in April 2021, Travis Sheetz said that the company had considered expanding into Columbus as early as the late 1990s when the company first expanded into Northeast Ohio, but decided to expand into North Carolina instead and only recently started expanding into Central Ohio due to many social media requests from transplants now living in the area asking for Sheetz.[18]


On December 19, 2019, Sheetz celebrated the opening of its 600th store in Shaler Township, PA.[19] Sheetz now has more than 600 locations across Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, Ohio and North Carolina, and more than 21,000 employees. All Sheetz stores are company-owned-and-operated. The company has no plans to sell franchises.[20]


Sheetz is the dominant convenience store chain in much of Pennsylvania, holding a virtual monopoly in Altoona, although Rutter's moved into the Altoona area in 2017 and now has three locations in Blair County, and a commanding share in Pittsburgh (where it competes with 7-Eleven, Speedway, GetGo, and to a much lesser extent Circle K) and Harrisburg (where it primarily competes with Rutter's, as well as 7-Eleven and Speedway), but is noticeably absent from the Delaware Valley (including Philadelphia) due to the presence of Wawa, leading to a fierce "rivalry" between the two chains among Pennsylvanians, though the two companies themselves have a friendly relationship.[21][22]


In 2020, Sheetz discontinued selling Faygo soft drinks and replaced them with their new private-label brand, Sheetz Pop!. This drink effectively replaces It! Cola 25 years after the latter product was discontinued.


Food service


In 1986, to boost lagging sales, Earl Springer, the manager of a Sheetz in Williamsport, MD, pursued a food concept that would become Sheetz's signature Made To Order (MTO) line.[23] Beginning with only submarine sandwiches, customers would fill out a small slip of paper, designating the ingredients they wanted on their sandwich, and in what quantity.[24][25] The order slip would be placed in a basket, and the kitchen staff would prepare the sub to the customer's order. Since that time, the menu expanded, and by the 1990s MTO was a sales leader for Sheetz.[26] Beginning in 1996, the paper ordering system was phased out in favor of a picture-based touchscreen computer system.[23] Now common at many restaurants and gas stations worldwide, Sheetz was the first company to implement this technology.


By 1999, Sheetz was selling 10,000 MTO units a day. Sheetz now trains employees to function as baristas for their newest brand of "Sheetz Bros. Coffeez", which are designed to be higher-grade coffee than typically found in convenience stores. With the introduction of the "Convenience Restaurant" concept, they have expanded their menu. Customers can purchase a wide variety of food items. The Espresso Bar, offering specialty coffees, is found at all locations. Sheetz regularly offers customers free coffee on Christmas Day and New Year's Day.[27] During 2008–2009, Sheetz rolled out "MTGo!", a grab and go assortment of sandwiches, wraps and other small items for the hurried customer. Along with "MTGo!", Sheetz unveiled "Shweetz Bakery" items including donuts, fritters and muffins made and delivered daily from the "Sheetz Bros. Kitchen" in Claysburg, Pennsylvania.


Food-only stores


In 2003, Sheetz opened a concept store in the food court of Hanes Mall in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. This location offered Sheetz's made-to-order foods and fountain beverages in a more traditional fast food layout. It did not function as a convenience store.[28] The store has since closed.


In 2012, Sheetz again began contemplating "new concept", "fuel-free" locations.[29] In 2014, a plan was announced to open such a location on the campus of West Virginia University, in Morgantown, WV.[30] The intent was to call it "Sheetz MTO Market", however, when opened, in February 2015,[31] the store was named "Sheetz Café" (although outdoor signage is the same as all other stores).


In September 2015, another no-fuel café opened in State College, PA, near the campus of Penn State University.[32][33] In Indiana, PA, on the border of the Indiana University of Pennsylvania campus, a Sheetz that previously carried gasoline was torn down, and replaced with a no-fuel café that opened in August 2016.[34][35][36][37] A fourth such location opened in September 2017, in Charlottesville, VA, directly across the street from the campus of the University of Virginia.[38][39][40]


In September 2019, Sheetz announced they would not renew their lease with WVU for that Morgantown location.[41][42][43] The company offered no explanation for the closure.

In May 2021, Sheetz announced that the Charlottesville location would close in June.[44][45]


Alcohol sales in Pennsylvania


Until June 8, 2016, Pennsylvania state law prohibited alcohol sales in convenience stores. Beer had to be sold at a beer distributor while liquor had to be sold at state-operated stores titled "Wines & Spirits". In 2007, Sheetz tried to find a loophole around this by classifying part of one of their prototype stores in Altoona as a restaurant, which would permit alcohol sales.[46] The Malt Beverage Distributors Association of Pennsylvania protested and Sheetz was temporarily barred from selling beer.[47] On appeal, Sheetz was awarded the license to sell beer and continues to do so today. On June 15, 2009, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court gave Sheetz permission to sell beer for takeout under the condition that it is also available to drink on site.[48] Sheetz successfully led the effort to change alcohol sales laws in Pennsylvania to allow sales in convenience and grocery stores, which became law when Governor Tom Wolf signed Act 39 into law on June 8, 2016.


Fuel


The Sheetz stores that sell gasoline offer three grades of gasoline (87, 89, and 93 Octane) and most offer diesel. An increasing number of stores also offer E85 and E15, and some also offer ethanol free gasoline. Some stores offer kerosene at separate pumps.


Sheetz is known for high fuel sales, mostly based on strong inside sales from their MTO's and other products that lead to sales at the pumps. In Pennsylvania, Sheetz is the market leader in all fuel sales at over 21%, ahead of all other competitor convenience store chains including those selling fuel from Big Oil brands such as Exxon, Sunoco, and BP, all of which have a major presence in Pennsylvania alongside Sheetz.

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