‘Sheetz vs. Wawa’ filmmaker launches Kickstarter funding effort
As any king, or queen, of the road will tell you, your choice of pit stop matters.
And don’t tell die hard patrons of either that the two are interchangeable.
You may find yourself pelted with an MTO. Or a Sizzli.
What spawns that consumer loyalty — and the friendly rivalry between fans of the 24/7 convenience stores — is the subject of “Sheetz Vs. Wawa: The Movie.”
Fridg, a filmmaker and founder of Latrobe start-up business HeadSpace Media, a film production company, is seeking support from Team Wawa and Team Sheetz, with a goal of screening a feature-length film next spring.
Scoring convenience stores’ qualities
While acknowledging a tongue-in-cheek aspect to the film, Fridg, 37, plans to put the chains through their convenience, cleanliness, and coffee paces, to ultimately name a winner.
“We will declare a victor,” he says.
He plans to interview Wawa and Sheetz CEOs, and experts from the retail/convenience store industry and social and behavioral experts.
Requests for comment from Sheetz and Wawa were not immediately returned.
Itching for some film fun
An Indiana County native, Fridg says he carried a camera as a kid and started making videos while in high school, rather than simply verbalizing announcements.
“I was always trying to make little stories,” he says.
His first encounter with the Sheetz/Wawa fan rivalry came while attending IUP.
“There were lots of students from Lancaster, Philadelphia, Maryland,” he says.
And they were very vocal, he says, that “Sheetz was nothing like Wawa.”
He recalled those declarations recently while driving by a Sheetz near his old campus, and wracking his brain for a film idea.
“I thought I could make a movie about this if fans want it,” he says.
After creating a Facebook page noting his intentions, he began receiving messages from people about “their” store, Fridg says.
Stories range from date nights at the stores, to friendships made with employees, to people whose first stop after flying home to Philadelphia is at a Wawa for coffee.
“This is not just a film about the rivalry. This is a film about human beings. There is a story here,” he says.
Bringing their stories to the screen
After talking with convenience store industry experts, Fridg says he learned how “innovative” the two Pennsylvania retailers are.
“That’s another layer to this film,” he says.
Last summer, Fridg made in-person visits with heads of both companies who, he says, lent support to his project.
While not offering financing, each is agreeable to interviews and store access for filming, he adds.
“The idea is to compare each store against a standard set by a third party. It won’t be me eating a Sheetz hoagie, then eating a Wawa hoagie. I have to take myself out of it,” Fridg says.
The fundraiser will help with travel and other costs and making the film as professional as possible.
He hopes for production quality high enough to attract national attention, such as from Netflix or Hulu.
As a Western Pennsylvania native, Fridg says he grew up in “Sheetz country.”
But trips east often mean a Wawa stop.
Will Fridg go on record with his own favorite?
“Sheetz is like my brother, who I know everything about. Wawa is the interesting new person, fun to hang out with,” he says diplomatically.
“Each one stands to win or lose. From a trust standpoint, a brand standpoint, both are pretty similar in my book. Both are incredible at what they do,” Fridg says.
Mary Pickels is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Mary at 724-836-5401, [email protected] or via Twitter .