WaPo Devotes Five Pages To Wawa/Sheetz Epic

We thought our love for Wawa was deep and true, then we read this lengthy column in the Washington Post about people getting married at a Wawa or flocking to the stores on 9/11 to regain a sense of community and normalcy.

For those of you who have never visited or lived along the mid-Atlantic or eastern Rust Belt, Wawa and Sheetz are two very similar gas station/convenience stores that are just light years ahead of 7-Eleven, Cumberland Farms, etc. in terms of food and drink selection, clean bathrooms, and the amount of Prince and Genesis that is regularly played over their speakers.

We lived across the street from a Wawa our last year of law school and are still paying off the balance on our Wawa Visa. Our last meal will be a pizza cheese steak and a half gallon of diet lemonade iced tea.

Wawa vs. Sheetz [WaPo]
(Photos: mortonfox, hswilkinson)

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  1. milkcake says:

    There used to be Wawa in Philly where many students took advantage of credit card system failure. These students used to swipe debit cards as credit cards and it would actually go through. But the problem for Wawa was that the charge never showed up on these customers, so all these customers were freeloading for a while. Wawa found out much later on, but too late to get money back.

  2. Bluth_Cornballer says:

    Sheetz is the holy grail of convenience stores. The hummus there is better than some restaurants I’ve been to.

    • jackal676 says:

      @Bluth_Cornballer: Yes, yes it is. I grew up 2 blocks away from the original Sheetz store. I have purchased MTO’s when you still had to fill out your order on a little paper pad. Oh, the memories. It! cola, anyone? Not their most shining moment.

    • nstonep says:

      @Bluth_Cornballer: Indeed…SHEETZ is pretty much Jesus with a beer belly and a “I honk for boobs” t shirt.

      Why:
      1)24 hours
      2)Excellent gas (really!?!?!!!)
      3)Excellent food
      4)Food 24 hours
      5)Jolt cola
      6)Damn good coffee
      That’s all you need to know. The only downside would be that it’s 24 hours so there’s naturally cops there all the time and they don’t have alcohol in Pennsylvania (big negative)

      • pax says:

        @nstonep: Excellent food and coffee FOR CHEAP, may I add. Their baked goods are at least as good as Starbucks and probably half the price.

        I always say that NYC needs a Sheetz or two, but they’d probably ruin it.

  3. Zerkaboid says:

    WAWA FOR LIFE. I’m from eastern PA but Penn State is Sheetz country, worst thing about being there for 4 years. All the rest rocked though.

    • tbax929 says:

      @Neophiliack:
      I went to Dickinson, and we had Sheetzes there, too. They can’t even compare to Wawa.

    • jag164 says:

      @Neophiliack: Sheetz country in State College!? It was Uni-Mart central in the early 90’s; i think there were only two sheetz in down and they weren’t even super sheetz.

      • Zerkaboid says:

        @jag164: Downtown still had a couple Unimarts but once you drive a little bit off campus it’s Sheetz, one’s a huge one up by the Walmart on Atherton. This was ’02-’06.

      • nstonep says:

        @jag164: uni-mart=totally lame…though I remember them carrying garbage pail kids cards in the 90’s.

      • mjl5007 says:

        @jag164: Having lived in Happy Valley since the early 90s (and been through my 4 years at State), I’ve seen the downfall of Uni-mart first hand. Honestly, though, they had it coming; Uni-mart is teh suck. Unfortunately, there is still no Sheetz downtown, so if you’re a student on campus without a car you’re pretty much SOL. Fortunately I now live within 5 minutes walking distance to the big one :-D

    • LetMeGetTheManager says:

      @Neophiliack:

      Went to Susquehanna for college, and gladly had a Sheetz within two minutes. Moved back home to Central Jersey, and gladly have five Wawas within ten minutes.

      Wawa Hoagies > Sheetz Hoagies
      Wawa Iced Tea > Sheetz Iced Tea

    • Burning pakalolo not even noticing the weather says:

      @Neophiliack: I LOVE WAWA!!! I only get to go there when I go to Philly. In NYC we have 7-11 which is ok but I love the sandwiches at WaWa.

  4. pmcpa4 says:

    Both Wawa and Sheetz Rule! Wawa is king in my area, grown up with it, couldn’t live without them! Remember them before they were Gas Station too!

  5. doctor_cos wants you to remain calm says:

    Here in SWFL, neither. I would kill for a Sheetz meatball sandwich and a gallon of that iced tea with lime from the cooler.

  6. pattiesmart says:

    I seriously doubt they are anywhere near as awesome as QuikTrip (QT). Especially in terms of size, drink selection, and size. Also, QT’s staff are trained to do some serious multi-tasking. I love QT, can you tell?

    • pattiesmart says:

      @pattiesmart: Minues one size! I meant “cleanliness” because their stores and bathrooms are always SPOTLESS.

    • deadandy says:

      @pattiesmart: I have to concur on this issue. I will go way out of my way to get to QT if I need to fill up and grab a snack. They are on top of their game for sure.

    • angelofstrange says:

      @pattiesmart: QT has some awesome sandwiches! Me and the hubby like the cherry adding thing and we always made cherry sprite. Thank you QT for taking food stamps >.>

    • tbax929 says:

      @pattiesmart:
      Quick Trips aren’t bad. I hit them when I’m in the Phx area. I don’t think we have any here in Tucson. But they’re not as good as Wawas, in my opinion.

    • suepw says:

      @pattiesmart:

      I’ve lived in the Midwest and East coast – and QT and WaWa are really about the same in size, drink selection, etc. Except WaWa has better coffee. And no fee ATM’s. Other than that, its just the name.

    • WraithSama says:

      @pattiesmart:
      Here in Wichita, I will only buy gas at QuickTrip. Their drink selection is awesome, too. QT rocks!

    • umbriago says:

      @pattiesmart: Apparently other people do too, 24/7/365, I have never seen an empty QT: there’s always somebody there, buying something.

      4 a.m. Sunday morning? 12:30 a.m. Christmas Eve? Somebody’s there, buying something.

      And those 32 oz. sodas for 49 cents? guzzleguzzleguzzle. There are 7-11s around, but they can’t touch QT with a ten foot pole.

    • LastError says:

      @pattiesmart: I grew up next door to a 7-11, but QT gets all of my business now (plus, we have no 7-11 here anyway). The gas is good, the food is good, the drink selection is amazing, and the workers are fast.

      It’s consistent and predictable and always good. No matter where I am, I know walking in exactly what to expect. Love it.

      The newest renovated QT at Winters Chapel and PIB is really nice.

      Racetrack stores are not bad either though. They actually outdo QT in a couple areas but it’s not enough to worry about.

    • magdelane says:

      @pattiesmart: I lived in St Louis from 2004 through earlier this year, and was a loyal patron of QT. However, QT has nothing on Sheetz. Sheetz has real food..

    • jag164 says:

      @pattiesmart: QT trip is the best in the Atlanta metro, but they pale in comparison to Sheetz or WaWa. Really, they’re not in the same playing field.

    • BytheSea says:

      @pattiesmart: Does QT have good sammiches? You can actually get fed and not die at Wawa. They have healthy snacks, too, like grapes and hardboiled eggs.

  7. emmaforce says:

    I miss my Wawa!!!! I miss the center island fresh food and the no fee ATMs and cheap gas and open restrooms and… oh, just everything. You can never really love a White Hen after leaving Wawa behind.

  8. DerangedRoleModel says:

    fffffffff

    I wish these companies would stop avoiding the NYC metro area. It’s frustrating to see so many companies stop and refuse to expand into the metro area (Wegmans, I’m talking to you too). I know why, but it’s still annoying.

    • Vandelay Import Export says:

      @DerangedRoleModel: I concur. I know Wawa would do land office business in a couple of Midtown and Downtown locations. Really, it would be much more useful than yet another Duane Reade.

      Although, when Wawas start appearing in New Jersey it is always a good indication you have left the normal part of New Jersey.

    • HunanGarden says:

      @DerangedRoleModel: Yes, Wegman’s is one fantastic place to get your groceries. Agreed their geographical market area is way too small.

    • mac-phisto says:

      @DerangedRoleModel: well, i dunno about wawa & sheetz, but wegman’s limited expansion is based on their distribution centers: they don’t want their drivers to have more than 3-3 1/2 hours on the road one way (so they don’t have to put them up in a hotel over nite), so if you notice, their stores are all well within 180 miles of their DCs.

      still, i know they have DCs within 3 1/2 hours of the NYC metro, so i can’t tell you why they haven’t moved in there yet…

      • nybiker says:

        @mac-phisto: My guess is that Google might say it’s 3 or 3 1/2 hours, but in NYC and the immediate environs, you could spend a wonderful amount of time not in motion or moving very, very slowly so that what is supposed to take 3 hours takes 5 hours. Sunday nights during the summer, oh what a feeling!!

    • montusama says:

      @DerangedRoleModel:

      I do like going to Wegmans, but where I live and how I was raised, we always went to Tops, so I go to both usually in the same day with my friend while walking there from our homes.

      I visit Wegmans almost nightly. Wegmans in the NYC metro would be awesome. Though I live no where near there.

    • Anne Boleyn says:

      @DerangedRoleModel: I don’t think they have ANY Sheetz stations in NYS :( They stop right at the PA border – my guess is the taxes are too high maybe? Jesus, they need to build them here. Shmuffinz and Shmonsterz are my crack cocaine.

    • nstonep says:

      @DerangedRoleModel:

      A)Because the land/rent is too high
      B)There’s no room
      C)The cost would be higher (and employee salaries)
      D)They’d have to sell alcohol which I don’t believe they do

      Besides…NYC doesn’t deserve the almighty Sheetz and would have to institute a “dress down” dress code.

      • pax says:

        @nstonep: I have to reluctantly agree. Plus, customer service is always better than what you’d expect at a Sheetz or a Wegmans–at least in Wegmans case, I can say from personal experience that they don’t treat their low-wage employees like garbage. Move that scene to NYC and their halfway decent and pleasant employees will undoubtedly be replaced by the most surly and apathetic customer service force in the country if not the world.

        That said, Wegmans could talk to Trader Joe’s and see how they maintain a reasonably pleasant sales staff in the NYC Metro area.

  9. Greasy Thumb Guzik says:

    So it’s owned by Baba Wawa?

  10. PackerX says:

    For anyone who knows G Love (a Philly boy), he has a song “Cold Beverage”. One of the lines references Wawa.

    “Caught a chill vibe, orange juice in my ride
    Wawa’s to the right, they got beverage inside
    Dig me a hot coffee, fill it up with ice
    Watermelon’s like a drink, please fix me a large slice”

    • DeeJayQueue says:

      @PackerX:
      Yo when i’m fishin’, Let’s keep one thing clear:
      The bait’s over there, The brew’s right here.
      Two six packs an’a big bagga ice,
      didn’t even catch a bite, but the brew tasted nice.

  11. scudly says:

    I love Sheetz simply because of the Pretzel sandwiches, sadly I moved away from VA when they started getting there. Thankfully when I visit family in PA the fiancee and I hit one up almost every visit. There were WaWa’s near where I lived in VA but for whatever reason I never went into one getting any of their subs, guess I should try it next time I visit home.

  12. ryaninc says:

    We moved to Florida a year and a half ago and I still miss Wawa. I miss it less than I did initially, but, yeah, I’d love it if they expanded south. There’s just nothing comparable down here.

  13. Beef Supreme says:

    They both rock pretty hard compared to regular gas stations or convenience stores…

    I’d have to give Sheetz the nod on most sandwiches and the like, Wawa wins on the fresh fruit/salad/etc. selection.

  14. mrafternoon says:

    Sheetz FTW. they had FRIED MACARONI CHEESE!!!11!!!!1!!

  15. Smashville says:

    @pattiesmart: I knew I clicked that “Follow Me” heart for a reason.

    QT is my religion.

    Exit 306 on I-24 in Adairsville, Georgia…do it.

    • pattiesmart says:

      @Smashville: I know all the QTs in my area. At work, near home. We’re surrounded by them and it’s awesome.

      I love their parking lots. Easiest place to get gas ever.

  16. DeeJayQueue says:

    I grew up in the Philly Metro area. In fact, within an easy bike ride from Wawa #1 in Holmes, PA. I’ve seen the chain grow from a little tiny convenience store to the big gas giant that it is now.

    -They still call them Hoagies, not subs or grinders or whatever, no matter where you go.

    -Wawa Iced Tea defeats all.

    -TastyKake. (yes you can get that in supermarkets too, i know)

    -Wawa coffee is the truth, the light and the way. The Alpha and the Omega.

    • Vandelay Import Export says:

      @DeeJayQueue: What is the deal with these Tastykakes? I tried a couple of I picked up at Duane Reade and they aren’t that good.

    • CFinWV says:

      @DeeJayQueue: You grew up around Philly and bought your Hoagies at Wawa? That’s it… I’m revoking your Philly Card.

      • DeeJayQueue says:

        @CFinWV: No, I bought my hoagies either at Michaels, or Slacks. But it’s nice to go into a store in Virginia and see a giant foam “Hoagies” on the wall behind the deli counter.

        Plus, what the hell is wrong with wawa hoagies? They used Amoroso rolls and they have one of the best delis around in terms of meat and cheese. I’d feel no shame ordering up a turkey classic.

  17. HunanGarden says:

    Sheetz was instrumental in my late night nutritional program while in college. I’ve hit a few Wawa stores on occasion when geographically appropriate. I now live in a part of the country with neither, but that’s OK…I’ve got Quik Trip!

  18. JulesNoctambule says:

    All I know is now I’m hungry as hell.

  19. PsiCop says:

    Am I the only one who doesn’t understand why a pair of convenience store chains merit 5 pages’ worth of news, in a major newspaper like the Post?

    • tbax929 says:

      @PsiCop:
      Yep.

    • gStein_*|bringing starpipe back|* says:

      @PsiCop: i’m with you… was hoping for an excerpt summarizing it, but… *shakes fist at Alex*

    • Cant_stop_the_rock says:

      @PsiCop:
      1. The only reason it’s 5 pages is because they get 5 pageviews that way. More ad impressions.
      2. It’s the lifestyle section, which always contains this sort of non-news articles.

    • TechnoDestructo says:

      @PsiCop:

      I’m guessing you’ve either never lived someplace without decent convenience stores, or you’ve never been someplace that had them. (Note…you have to live without them to understand the absence…you only have to see one once to wonder how you’ve lived without it.)

  20. G.O.B.: Come on! says:

    “…and the amount of Prince and Genesis that is regularly played over their speakers.”

    Acquired taste, perhaps. Genesis especially because, come on.

  21. Cant_stop_the_rock says:

    I was in college in Indiana on 9/11, so I flocked to the local Handy Andy and got my usual Tuesday lunch of $.99 Noble Roman’s breadsticks.

    It’s great to be back in NJ though – I love Wawa hoagies and Tastycakes.

  22. Super Moose says:

    WaWa has cookie dough Eggnog. All others are meaningless.

  23. MisterE says:

    “Welcome to Sheetz! Pump Six you’re on!” I love Sheetz, but WaWa hoagies RULE.

  24. MarvinwasaLunatic says:

    Royal Farms > Wawa in every conceivable way possible.

  25. chiieddy says:

    One thing I miss about NJ now that I live in New ENgland is the Wawas. Many a dollar was spent at the Wawa near my dorm in college.

  26. biggeek3 says:

    I’m on the Left Coast and didn’t know what WaPo, Wawa or Sheetz was.

    I puzzled at that headline for a few seconds, brain misfiring, trying to figure out what the hell it meant.

  27. oldgraygeek says:

    Our Christmas Morning ritual:
    My wife, her mother and I pile into my 2001 Police Interceptor. We take a scenic drive (about a hundred miles) on the back roads of central Delaware, enjoying the lack of traffic that enables us to, um, verify the engine’s power output in top gear.
    Then, we stop at Wawa for coffee and sandwiches.

    We can always count on Wawa for a decent cup of coffee and deli sandwiches that wont make us sick (at most convenience stores, you’re crazy to eat anything that they touch).

  28. Syntania says:

    Well, we Wawa associates are glad you like our stores. We work very hard to keep it that way.

    Wawa associates treat our customers well because the company treats us well. We get full benefits, a flexible work schedule, and a good team of people to work with. This is one of the reasons we have people who have been with us for years. The company knows how to treat them. Other companies would do well to learn this lesson (I’m looking at you, Wal-Mart). Our coffee is brewed fresh and not allowed to stand on a warmer fermenting for hours, our product offer is rotated and changed frequently to keep us from offering the same old, same old, all the time, but we still offer the core items we know our customers like.

    (I’m not a corporate shill, really, just a happy employee)

  29. Eels says:

    The Wawa hoagie ordering system is nothing short of magical. As are their pretzels. Really makes me want to take a roadtrip.

    • blindtheskies says:

      @Eels: i remember when they switched over form the hand written forms for the hoagies to the touch screen. it was like my life was turned upside down… in an amazingly awesome way.

  30. TechnoDestructo says:

    I got my first and only Wawa experience about 2 years ago, in my first trip to the east coast since I was 3.

    It reminds me of convenience stores in Japan and Korea, except bigger.

    This is a good thing. Wawa is one of only a handful of good things in the American retail landscape, from a consumer perspective.

  31. SpruceStreetPhil - in a new Pine flavor says:

    Wawa blackberry lemonade. I’d buy it by the sixpack, but they don’t sell it in six packs, so I just empty their shelf.

    Also, vanilla milk.

  32. Tatsuko says:

    Aahh, This Jersey girl totally <3 s Wawa. I really miss it down here in Houston. Whenever I go back to Jersey to visit family I always make it a point to go to one of the many, many Wawas in my hometown area. (A running joke among my family is that you can give directions by how many Wawas you’ve passed, and use them as landmarks…) Their italian hoagies rock. And they have a great selection of fresh fruit and other foods.

    I used to work at one over the summer when I was in high school. I loved snagging baked goods for free right before they could be thrown out. :)

  33. ianmac47 says:

    The one fault of WaWa (which is rumored to have been corrected more recently), is a total lack of family planning. I’m talking about rubbers. Several clerks over the years had informed me that WaWa was a family store, and didn’t stock these essentials.

  34. blindtheskies says:

    I just moved to Oklahoma from NJ, where I lived my entire life. I am having a hard time adjusting to live without a beach, good pizza AND WAWA. People without Wawas in their life just do not understand their awesomeness. It is one of those things you have to experience to really get. I have a deep and unconditional love for Wawa, their ice teas, hoagies, coffee and sizzlies.

    Man, my homesickness just grew exponentially while writing this comment.

  35. Anne Boleyn says:

    There was a Sheetz down the street from my dorm in undergrad. It was open at all hours…oh man, nothing beat the 3AM MTO run after a long party. And the clean bathrooms were always refreshing. Sheetz forever!

  36. rockergal says:

    MTO all the way. Sheetz is just all that.

  37. flipnut says:

    I thought QuickTrip was great, then I went to a Sheetz.

    If only we had Sheetz, Wawa, or Quicktrip, Southwest Air, and Publix in Charlotte.

  38. Rugbydan says:

    When I was at Shippensburg U. (Go Raiders!), I’m proud to say that drunken college students such as myself made the Sheetz there the NUMBER ONE grossing in the entire business.

    That being said, being a Souderton fellow, I heart Wawa.

  39. Eldritch says:

    Hah! I just got a sandwich from WaWa tonight. That place rocks.

  40. madanthony says:

    One thing I think is awesome about Sheetz is that if you go to their website, you can download point of interest packs for Garmin and Tom-Tom GPS’s. It’s both great advertising and a good feature for people who like to stop there on long trips. I don’t know why more companies don’t do that.

    I also love that Sheetz is one of the few places where I’ve seen fountain Diet Mountain Dew. And they have hot dogs 2 for $1.

  41. Raziya says:

    I LOVE WAWA!!!

    I grew up in South Jersey and I miss Wawa and Tastykakes. :(

  42. boxjockey68 says:

    no kidding? Are there any in SC by any chance?

  43. CFinWV says:

    I grew up in Wawa land, went to college in Turkey Hill country, and now I’m surrounded by the mecca that is Sheetz. Upon discovering that every Sheetz has public restrooms my roadtripping options have completely changed. I love Sheetz!

  44. CFinWV says:

    @pattiesmart: Sounds pretty much just like all the Sheetz in my area.

  45. MrTibbs says:

    Sheetz was my institution back in the day in Pittsburgh. It’s the only place open in the ‘burbs at night since everything else closes at 9:30. Great place to BS and talk Steelers with folks.

    Thank God Sheetz has spread to Ohio. Nothing in the world compares to a loaded Shmuffin at 2 AM. Solid bliss.

  46. OMAC says:

    I can’t explain it, but I love both. I love the phaser sounds at Wawa when they scan your items.

  47. thesadtomato says:

    I love Wawa. Why do’t they carry soy milk, though?

    • Syntania says:

      @thesadtomato: Wawa began as a dairy, so their primary focus is on the milk. We do carry a 100% lactose free milk if intolerance is the issue. However, you’re always free to make the suggestion. =)

  48. HogwartsAlum says:

    I lived in Delaware for a short time and I liked Wawa. The name always made me smile.

  49. Chip Skylark of Space says:

    Wawa? My favorite small city in Ontario. Very nice, the waters of Superior are warm enough there so you can actually get in without your legs turning white and snapping off.

    [www.superiortrails.com]

    I recommend a stop if you ever find yourself circumnavigating Lake Superior.

  50. Ender B. Wiggin says:

    I miss Wawa’s so much, I remember before living in Texas my Dad taking me to Wawa to get one of their glorious chili dogs and a mellow yellow.

  51. teke367 says:

    Never been to a Sheetz, but WaWa would be a recurring character if my life was a tv show. Surrounded by Quick Checks now, which seemed to have copied WaWa pretty well, without the cheap gas though.

    I was actually in a Cumberland Farms during 9/11, humming to myself and thought it was odd that the cashier helped me despite being last in line. I didn’t hear the radio, didn’t know what happened until I got back into my car and realized everybody else “in line” was actually listening to the radio shocked. They all probably thought I was some inconsiderate jerk, as at that moment I was in a good mood.

  52. thepill says:

    The WaWa in College Park, MD has this really distinct smell. It’s the only WaWa I’ve been to – are they all like that?

    Cumberland Farms! I haven’t heard someone mention Cumby’s in a long, long time :)

  53. Posthaus says:

    The Wawa’s around here alomost notorious put a lot of crap gas stations right out of business. Seriously, anytime they built a superstation within a half-mile of another gas station they would almost always drive the old out of business. It’s uncanny…and the only convenience store that seems to be immune are Royal Farms- which are often rather brazenly built across the street from their Wawa competition.

  54. btdown says:

    F Sheetz…Wawa 4 life. shout out to the philly homiez

  55. BytheSea says:

    there’s a Wawa around the corner from work so everyone gets sandwiches, wraps, and coffee there regularly. It’s actually good food and the coffee is better than Starbucks.