You might say Sheetz is to the convenience store business what Wal-Mart is to discount shopping. Noted for being exceptionally large (stores average up to 5,000 sq. ft., nearly twice the size of the average 7-Eleven), 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 staffs 16,000-plus employees operating more than 500 combination convenience stores and gas stations mostly in Pennsylvania, but also in Maryland, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia, and West Virginia. Founded in 1952 by Bob Sheetz, the company is owned and run by the Sheetz family.
While privately-owned Sheetz doesn't report its financial results, the convenience store operator rang up an estimated $6.9 billion in sales in fiscal 2014 (ended September), up from around $4 billion in fiscal 2010.
Sheetz continues to expand its store base in the six states it does business in. During 2015, the company opened new stores in Stuarts Draft, Virginia; Burnham and Huntingdon, Pennsylvania; High Point, Winston-Salem, and Lexington in North Carolina; and Morgantown, West Virginia. During 2014 it opened new stores in Lancaster, Pennsylvania; and Elkin, North Carolina, among other places.
In late 2014, the company finished its new distribution and food production center in Burlington, North Carolina. The 250,000-sq.-ft. center would be used to make an assortment of bakery and ready-to-eat items, such as sandwiches, salads, and other convenience restaurant foods. The $33-million distribution center will support the company's expansion in North Carolina.
The chain 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. For example, in the fall of 2012, the company opened its first store with a dual lane drive-thru, so that customers can order food or merchandise without leaving their cars. (No lottery, money order, or alcohol are sold at the drive-thru.) Other amenities include 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.