Sheetz music to some ears

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 15, 2011

By Sarah Campbell
People who frequent Sheetz say it’s difficult to put a finger on one specific thing that makes the convenience store stand out.
Some say it’s the made-to-order food, which can be ordered from a touch screen outside while pumping gas. Some say it’s the sleek look and clean upkeep. And some say it’s the prices.
Company officials are planning a new Sheetz in Salisbury at the corner of Old Concord Road and Jake Alexander Boulevard.
“It’s kind of hard to put into words to people who say ‘what’s the big deal,’ ” Sarah Hall, executive director of the Center for Faith & the Arts, said. “It’s more than a convenience store, it’s kind of a place of the future.”
During a mother-daughter weekend with her daughter, Elisabeth, the pair stopped at every Sheetz along the way to Harrisburg, Va.
“We proclaimed that it was our Sheetz tour,” Hall said. “We would pull off and go whether we needed anything or not.
“We just look for Sheetz … it’s just like a family tradition kind of thing.”
Hall said her family often orders food and appreciates the variety available.
“I think for food you order off a screen, it’s really good food,” she said. “It’s also got healthy food, it doesn’t just have junk.”
Damian Tagalog of Greenville usually prefers to stop at Sheetz when filling up or grabbing a quick bite to eat.
“The food is a lot better than what you would think you can get from a gas station,” he said.
Greenville currently has three Sheetz locations.
“I really like it because it’s convenient and seems to be cheaper than most gas stations,” Greenville resident Ashley Moye said. “They have really good deals on gas if you use your Sheetz card.”
Moye said she usually drops by Sheetz to grab a coffee and order breakfast before heading to class at East Carolina University.
“I really like ordering on the touch screens,” she said. “And, they have a lot of options to choose form so it’s not just the same old thing.”
Teresa Murphy of Trinity said she’s “really enjoyed” having a Sheetz close to her home.
“It’s really easy to come in and order for yourself,” she said. “They have specials and you can sign up online and they’ll send you coupons for discounts and free stuff.”
By swiping a My Sheetz Card, available free in the store, Sheetz patrons can save money on food, speciality coffee, snacks, bakery items and fountain beverages.
Murphy said although the Sheetz in Trinity can get hectic at times, the staff is always calm and helpful.
“Everybody is really nice,” she said.
Salisbury Mayor Pro Tem Maggie Blackwell said she likes the cleanliness of Sheetz stores.
“If I’m traveling without my husband, I’ll pay a penny or more for gas if it’s clean,” she said. “Clean really matters to me.”
Salisbury residents will soon be able to have a Sheetz experience without even leaving town.
Earlier this month, the City Council approved a new conditional district outlay to allow the 6,100-square-foot fueling station and car wash.
The new store will join the other 27 Sheetz locations in North Carolina in offering Cheerwine, the cherry-flavored beverage born in Salisbury.
“Within the convenience store industry, Sheetz is the retailer watched most closely; this partnership is a milestone for Cheerwine,” Tom Barbitta, vice president of marketing for Cheerwine, said. “Consumers drive out of their way to find a Sheetz store, and they do the same to get an ice-cold Cheerwine.”
Blackwell said she believes the arrival of Sheetz will be good for the community
“I’m excited about any new business coming to town because unemployment is so terrible” she said.
Blackwell said her research of the family-owned company shows that they are a “responsible employer,” providing benefits to both full-time and part-time employees and offering college reimbursement.
Sheetz stores employ on average 44 full-time and part-time employees.
Blackwell also praised the company for making safety a priority.
The store will not face the road as city code usually requires so that cashiers can see the gas pumps and car wash.
Blackwell said the unique direction of the building will provide employes with the “broadest range of visual contact of the customers.”
“As a woman, I travel alone sometimes and I’m really thankful to have an idea that somebody inside is keeping an eye out,” she said.
Company officials could not be reached Friday to comment on when construction would begin.
Contact reporter Sarah Campbell at 704-797-7683.