Saturday, June 7, 2014

Regional Convenience Stores

I am writing this blog post to honor CONVENIENCE STORES/GAS STATIONS everywhere.

Growing up, I never once walked into a convenience store. Like bottled water, Greek yogurt and disposable diapers -- they didn't even exist. But now they are such a big PART OF MY DAILY LIFE....I take them for granted..

Of course -- they ALL DO THIS....
Pump-your-own GAS...

Here in Iowa -- we have a small chain of regional convenience stores -- Casey's.
I can't even remember what used to be in this spot in Princeton, Iowa
Nearly every small town in Iowa has a Casey's and they do certain things incredibly well. On a busy day, I zip into Casey's for a delicious, life-sustaining CPD. (Coffee, pizza, donut).
Their fresh baked pizza is WONDERFUL...and so are the donuts. Trust me -- I am an expert...

On my recent road trip to Mineral Point, Wisconsin, Deanna told me Kwik Star is HER convenience store of choice. She can always count on them to have clean bathrooms, fresh coffee....

Here in the Midwest -- in many towns -- Casey's is in a battle with Kwik Star.
So, what makes Deanna's Kwik Star different from my Casey's?
Here's the Kwik-Star hook. 38 cent Bananas!! Genius.... Also -- butter is $1.99/lb...
If you drive EAST -- there is a whole new set of Convenience Store Players. 
My friend Eileen Roche was raised on the Jersey Shore and she LOVES the Wawa chain! Long before Starbucks, they were known for their wonderful coffee. And I think their slurpies??

During our recent trip to Pennsylvania -- SHEETZ convenience stores have sprung up on every busy corner.
One of the unique features of the Sheetz chain is their walk-in cooler "Soda Cave".
They also have an app -- so you can find the closest store, and order your food before you even hit the exit ramp...
The biggest convenience store battle in the country is going on right now in Pennsylvania/New Jersey.  In many towns -- Sheetz is going head-to-head against WaWa...and it's hard to tell who's on top. The big winners, of course, are the customers. Because they all want our business -- we have lots of great choices, some bargain pricess, not to mention excellent coffee and road food -- AND -- THE MOST IMPORTANT THING...
LARGE, spacious, spotlessly clean bathrooms!!
Hey -- I miss the good old days as much as anybody else.  But the truth is -- you can't go back.  And convenience stores are here to stay.  Before you complain -- do a reality check.  Do you remember gas station bathrooms??  You had to get a key (tied to a brick), then walk outside and around the corner to use a dirty disgusting toilet....(which NEVER had any toilet paper).

I am delighted that Casey's brings pizza by the slice, fresh donuts and delicious coffee to my little town.  And I can still see Eileen's smile when we pulled into that Wawa parking lot. 

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