Sheetz, a family-owned convenience store chain, is slated to open a new location on the Corner Thursday. The 24-7 store will offer made-to-order sandwiches, appetizers, coffee and fruit drinks, beer and snacks.
“We’ve been looking at a store in Charlottesville for quite some time, but I think it’s obvious to anybody who spends any time in this area that this is a high-traffic area for pedestrians,” said Nick Ruffner, Sheetz’s public relations manager.
Unlike most Sheetz stores, which sell gasoline, this store features a café design only found at three other locations on college campuses in Pennsylvania and West Virginia. The Corner location does not have gas pumps.
Customers can order food, then eat and study at booths and window seats facing the street. The cafe offers free wifi, multiple televisions, charging ports for electronics and a wide array of made-to-order drinks and snacks. Customers can order customized items using touch screen kiosks, which allow them to make specific food requests, including when the item is ready.
“There’s a lot of things available beyond the sodas, the chips, the typical things you’d see in a store like this … we have an entire cooler dedicated to healthy options,” Ruffner said. “We have things like fresh fruit, yogurt, vegetables, hummus — a wide variety of options.”
The store’s construction began roughly six months ago, after the Charlottesville Board of Architectural Review approved in January. Much discussion went into the design so the store would fit well into the general atmosphere of the Corner. The company decided on a brick and wood theme to reflect its surroundings.
Monday morning a Sheetz smoothie and coffee truck parked in front of the store offered free cold brew coffee and smoothie samples to students, as part of its opening week advertising.
Ruffner said Sheetz prides itself on their company’s family-owned and operated structure, as well as its relation to the stores’ communities.
The opening day celebration will take place Thursday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. According to a press release, the “first 100 customers will receive a Sheetz tailgate chair and one lucky winner will receive a $1,000 Sheetz gift card.”
“We are also donating $2,500 to the Special Olympics of Virginia. We are a major supporter of Special Olympics in every state where we are operating,” Ruffner said. “We’re also donating $1,500 to the local food bank, as part of Feeding America, and so that’s just another way that we’re pledging to help the folks that are needy or less fortunate in this community.”
Ruffner also noted Sheetz is still hiring for workers at the Corner location.