Sheetz opens latest store on Route 8 in Shaler -

Sheetz opens latest store on Route 8 in Shaler

Thursday, December 19, 2019 | 2:29 PM

If there’s such a thing as a Sheetz desert, the stretch of Route 8 in Shaler fit the bill — until Dec. 19.

The Altoona-based convenience store operator held a grand opening for its latest store, giving the chain a total of 600 in operation. Owner Travis Sheetz, on hand for the first day of business, said this is technically the chain’s 678th opening. The other 78 stores have either been sold or closed.

“We picked this location because there really wasn’t a Sheetz within close driving distance of here,” he said. “Because of that, I think this spot will do very well.”

All signs on the first day supported Sheetz’s assessment.

The parking lot was packed, the 14 pumps were doing brisk business and plenty of customers were picking up snacks and other items in addition to the free coffee and soft drinks being served.

Charles Titterington, 62, of Shaler said he’s happy the store is open.

“The gas prices are cheaper here and it’s very convenient to get to,” he said. “It’s a great addition to this area.”

The new store features an array of food and drinks ranging from fresh-cooked grill items, salads, sandwiches, fresh-brewed coffees and teas, soft-serve ice cream with toppings and several varieties of slushees.

The company is in the process of obtaining a license to sell beer at the store.

“When we started out, food and drinks were secondary items that we sold along with gas,” Sheetz said. “But over the past several years, food and beverage sales have just exploded for us.”

The new store at 973 William Flinn Highway was approved last December and contains features to help reduce the impact on the surrounding residential neighborhood such as screening and other barriers to control light and sound coming from the property.

Systems have been installed to capture the odor of gasoline when customers are filling their tanks and when tanker trucks fill the underground tanks with fuel.