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Super Sheetz opens doors in Ligonier Township

| Wednesday, Aug. 27, 2014, 9:00 p.m.
Bill Pribisco | for Trib Total Media
Talking about the new Sheetz are (from left) District Manager Gina Hazelet, Ligonier store manager Traci Patrick and Holly Mowery executive director of the Ligonier Valley Chamber of Commerce. photo 8/21/2014 Ligonier Sheetz Bill Pribisco l Ligonier Echo
Bill Pribisco | for Trib Total Media
Ellie Stewart (from left) checks her phone as her mother, Dianne, chats with Kathy Brown in the new indoor dining area of Sheetz. 8/21/2014 Ligonier Sheetz Bill Pribisco l Ligonier Echo
Bill Pribisco | for Trib Total Media
Kim Matrunics (from left) and her mother, Candy Bellas, both of Ligonier, place their orders for breakfast at the new Sheetz in Ligonier Township. photo 8/21/2014 Ligonier Sheetz Bill Pribisco l Ligonier Echo
Bill Pribisco | for Trib Total Media
The new Sheetz convenience restaurant has a drive-thru window. photo 8/21/2014 Ligonier Sheetz Bill Pribisco l Ligonier Echo

A new Super Sheetz opened Aug. 21 in Ligonier Township.

Prior to the official opening, store manager Traci Patrick of Indiana welcomed chamber members and guests to a ribbon-cutting ceremony to mark the store's rejoining the Ligonier Valley Chamber of Commerce.

The new 6,000-square-foot convenience restaurant will feature expanded store and food preparation space, larger restroom facilities as well as an indoor and outdoor eating space.

When the canopied fuel service area is completed, there will be more pumps and diesel fuel will be available along with 46 parking spaces.

“The expanded store is an exciting addition to Ligonier,” said Holly Mowrey, the chamber's executive director. “The convenience of the larger location and the installation of the new gas pumps will be a great benefit to our community as well as visitors. The Ligonier Valley Chamber of Commerce welcomes Sheetz as new members and we encourage everyone to stop in the magnificent new store to meet Traci and her staff.”

Gina Hazelet and Pam Aubrey, district managers from the Sheetz Inc. regional office in Indiana, attended the opening.

“We are excited to reinvest in this community,” Hazelet said. “This is a great community and we are glad to partner with the community and this historic town.”

As customers were directed to shop into the new store, the original store closed its doors and work crews immediately began to empty the store and dismantle the fueling area.

“After 25 years in this location, we are happy to be able to offer more variety,” said Aubrey. “We definitely wanted to upgrade the store for the community.”

The new fuel facility, when completed in six to eight weeks, will offer additional gas pumps and extend fuel options to include diesel.

“The facility now offers drive-thru window service. Anything we sell, with the exception of lottery tickets, can be sold through the drive-thru,” Aubrey said. “Now, mom doesn't have to pull the kids out of the van. We've done this at other stores and it's been a great convenience.”

Hazelet said Sheetz has 44 drive-thru facilities in operation and 10 percent of the company's sales go through the drive-thru window.

“We are the only drive-thru in town. Just tell us what you want and we'll go get it for you,” Hazelet said.

When the original Sheetz was built 25 years ago, Mayor Ormond “Butch” Bellas was a telephone engineer and said he helped install cable at the store.

“This is good for our community. It is a first-class facility and it will provide more jobs,” Bellas said. “Ligonier needs to grow.”

Bellas said the drive-thru will definitely help people who are in a hurry.

“Especially, if they cannot get out of their car, it will be good for handicapped and the elderly,” Bellas said.

The Sheetz story

The story of Sheetz began in 1907 when James E. Harshbarger opened the Fifth Avenue Dairy in Altoona, because he saw a need for dairy farmers to transport their surplus milk into the marketplace.

By 1941, his son-in-law Jerry Sheets opened the first Sheetz Dairy Store in Altoona so he could offer more than dairy products. He officially changed his last name to Sheetz with a “z,” after seeing his name misspelled on a name tag, because he liked the way it looked.

In 1952, Bob Sheetz bought the dairy store from his father and later renamed it Sheetz Kwik Shopper. The name was rebranded to just “Sheetz” in 1982.

In the six decades that have passed since Bob Sheetz started his one-stop operation, the number of convenience stores has grown to more than 450 throughout six states, employing more than 15,000 employees.

As the company continues to move forward to meet the needs of its customers, they are building “Super Sheetz” facilities — a “convenience restaurant” — so they can provide shopping, fuel and a restaurant with indoor and outdoor seating, all in one stop.

Sheetz fans show support

Three Ligonier teens decided they wanted to be the first customers in the store on opening day. They arrived at 11 p.m. the night before and spent the night in a car until the new store opened.

“If you are not first, you are last,” said Tyler Turcheck, 16, who favors Sheetz French fries.

“Sheetz fries are the best. And, you can order them any time of the day.”

The teens said they went into the old store several times through the night to purchase snacks.

“I eat at least 20 meals a week here. I've spent my life-savings here,” joked Daniel Tucci, 17.

“This is the biggest thing that hit Ligonier since Fort Ligonier... the original battle,” added Alex Blystone.

Deborah A. Brehun is a staff editor for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-238-2111 or dbrehun@tribweb.com.

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