SELINSGROVE, PA - The New York Times wrote this week how Pennsylvania-based retailers Sheetz and Wawa are addressing the evolving state of the convenience store industry and the customer loyalties that the chains inspire.
"Convenience stores are supposed to be interchangeable, selling low-priced gas and self-serve coffee based on the proposition that when you need a pit stop, you turn in to the first you see, right there," the Times wrote, adding, "But in Pennsylvania, two convenience chains stir tribal loyalties, a commitment as deep as bonds with the Philadelphia Phillies or Pittsburgh Pirates."
First there€™s Wawa. With more than one million "likes" on its Facebook page, its customers willingly sing the company€™s praises. "I€™m here at least 10 times a week," said Caiti Fischer, a diehard customer. "I can€™t stay away."
Then there€™s Sheetz, with its advanced foodservice program that includes touch-screen ordering and its Sheetz Freakz €" those customers who frequent the company€™s stores after 2 am.
As for their distinctions, "Sheetz has neon colors, pumps loud country music and is overly fond of the alliterative use of its name in products," the Times wrote, whereas "Wawa is a more suburban creature. Its dÃ©cor features muted browns and blonds, and a central island of healthy food includes diced mangoes and apple slices."
The piece interchanged customer feedback, each touting their Pennsylvania favorite based on their perception of the company€™s foodservice and customer service strengths. We€™ll call it a draw as for a consensus; overall, the piece painted a flattering look at convenience store retailing in the 21st century.