You might say Sheetz is to the convenience store business what Wal-Mart is to discount shopping. Noted for being exceptionally large (stores average 4,200 sq. ft., nearly twice the size of the average 7-Eleven, but new stores are as large as 5,000 sq. ft.), Sheetz stores sell groceries, fountain drinks, baked goods, and made-to-order sandwiches and salads, self-service car washes, as well as discount gas and cigarettes. The company operates more than 430 combination convenience stores and gas stations, mostly in Pennsylvania, but also in five other states (Maryland, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia, and West Virginia). Founded in 1952 by Bob Sheetz, the company is owned and run by the Sheetz family.
Sheetz has gone far beyond traditional convenience store fare at locations in Altoona, Pennsylvania, and Raleigh, North Carolina. The two "convenience restaurants" are twice the size of a typical Sheetz store and have fried chicken, soups, salads, and pizza, in addition to sandwiches, on the menu. The stores seat about 50 people.
Increasing convenience is a priority at Sheetz stores. The company has begun installing gas machines that accept paper money at the pump, eliminating the walk inside for drivers on the go. To court the Starbucks crowd, Sheetz has added made-to-order espressos, cappuccinos, lattes, and mochas to its coffee menu. The company has installed Sheetz Bros. Coffeez counters with touch-screen ordering systems in all of its stores.
While privately-owned Sheetz doesn't report its financial results, the convenience store store operator rang up an estimated $5 billion in sales in fiscal 2011 (ends September), up from around $4 billion in fiscal 2010.
The company announced in 2012 that it would be building a new distribution and food production center, which will be located in Burlington, North Carolina. The 245,000-sq.-ft. center will be used to make an assortment of bakery and ready-to-eat items, such as sandwiches, salads, and other convenience restaurant foods. The cost of the new center is estimated to be around $33 million. The distribution center will support the company's expansion in North Carolina, where is added its 50th store -- in Wake Forest -- in 2013.
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