10 Best Convenience Store Chains in America (Slideshow)
10. Circle K
This convenience store chain has more than 4,300 locations in the U.S., in 38 states and the District of Columbia. That means you can find Circle K's anywhere from Mississippi to Maine and South Dakota to Oregon.
On the menu? Coffee, snacks, sandwiches and desserts, including candy. Hankering for a soft drink? Pick up a “Polar Pop” cup, which the company says, keep drinks colder longer than others.
Drivers in the Midwest know Thorntons, an independent gasoline and convenience chain retailer. The first location opened in Clarksville, Ind. in 1971.
Now headquartered in Louisville, Ky., Thorntons is also going green. They have E85 and bio-deisel fuel, use eco-friendly cleaning products and Energy Star appliances, utilize natural light and recycle on premises.
Thorntons sells lottery tickets and rents movies through Redbox. They also sell lots of food and drinks, including beers stored in chilly “beer caves” (available in about 60 percent of their stores).
Want to find one of their 174 locations in six states: Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Tennessee and Florida? Log on to the app.
Forbes ranks Sheetz as number 58 on its list of top large private companies in the U.S. The Altoona, PA company, which opened in 1952, took in $6.1 billon in revenue last year.
Open every day of the year, Sheetz has 437 locations in six states: Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, Ohio and North Carolina.
Their on-the-go menu includes wrapz, sliderz, saladz and coffeez including frozen mochas, lattes and fruit smoothies.
This chain, which brings in $9.02 billion in revenue, is number 40 on Forbes' list. A long-standing company with more than 200 years of business experience, Wawa is headquartered in Wawa, PA and has more than 21,000 employees.
Open all day, every day, Wawa has more than 630 convenience stores, 360 of which sell gasoline. Locations are throughout Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and Florida. Wawa serves 400 million customers each year. When it comes to food and drinks, every year Wawa brews 195 million cups of coffee and builds more than 60 million made-to-order hoagies.
With 370 locations in the South, RaceTrac is known for its “Crazy Good Coffee.” Coffee (and gas) sales must be good because the company’s revenue is $9.06 billion, according to Forbes which ranks RaceTrac number 39 on their list of top large private companies in the U.S.
RaceTrac, which is based in Atlanta, has almost 6,000 employees. The chain opened in 1934 and prides itself on large stores, 24-hour Swirl World frozen yogurt, multiple fueling stations, and more than 4,000 items “to satisfy the needs of its guests.”
Headquartered in Tulsa, Quiktrip started with one store in 1958 and now has 680 stores in 11 states. The company employs more than 15,000 people.
They offer “Guaranteed Gasoline” so if you ever have a problem with gas purchased at Quiktrip, the company says it “will work with you to solve the problem.”
If you’re hungry, check out QT Kitchens, which sells everything from sandwiches and salads to donuts and cinnamon rolls. They also have a variety of hot and cold drinks including their Freezoni, frozen flavored drinks.
4. Cumberland Farms
These convenience stores and gas stations, based in Framingham, Mass. have revenue of $15 billion and rank 18th on Forbes’ list of America’s Largest Private Companies.
Ever wonder about the company’s name? Cumberland Farms is an actual 110-acre farm in Cumberland, Rhode Island that was originally used for milk production. Cumberland Farms grew as a retailer and in 1971 installed its first gas pumps at one of its stores.
With 7,000 employees, Cumberland Farms has stores in 11 eastern states and has been family-owned for more than 70 years.
The “Chill Zone” slushy drinks, which retail for 89 cents (any size!), are a customer fave. Blend your own in flavors like strawberry, watermelon, and lemon. Cumberland Farms’ “FarmHouse Coffee” is another popular drink, including flavors like French vanilla, blueberry, and cinnamon.
3. Love’s Travel Stops & Country Stores
With $26.09 billion in revenue as of December 2013, Love’s ranked ninth on the Forbes’ list of America’s largest private companies. With 310 locations across the company and headquartered in Oklahoma City, Love’s has more than 10,000 employees and is family-owned and operated. Need to find a Love’s location? Check out their apps.
This roadside stop has everything you might need from gas and new tires to a snack like sodas and hot dogs too. They have a rewards program, called “My Love Rewards.”
2. Pilot Flying J
Pilot Flying J is currently ranked number seven on Forbes' 2013 list of America’s largest private companies. The retailer, which opened in 1958, is “the largest operator of travel centers and travel plazas in North America.”
The company employs 24,000 people and sold $30.43 billion last year. They have more than 650 locations serving more than 1.3 million customers every day. Pilot Flying J offers travelers and drivers many conveniences including gas, food, coffee, pizza, and nachos, as well as business services like FedEx and Western Union.
As a favorite stop for drivers, especially truckers, many locations throughout the country have shower facilities. The company is set to finish their $50 Million shower and lounge remodels later this year.
One of the most recognizable convenience stores is 7-Eleven, which opened 87 years ago in Texas. Now the company is the world’s largest convenience store chain with over 52,000 stores in 16 counties, including 10,300 in North America. California has 1200 locations, which makes it the state with the most 7-Eleven stores.
In 2012, 7-Eleven had total worldwide sales of almost $84.8 billion.
In a recent Techomic Report on convenience store foodservice, 7-Eleven topped all convenience stores in foodservice patronage. Two-thirds of the 4000 shoppers surveyed said they had purchased a foodservice item from 7-Eleven in the past two months.
There’s a good chance those foodservice items included coffee, Slurpees or hot dogs. The company’s most popular product is coffee (a million cups a day!) and every month they sell nearly 13 million Slurpees. Annually, 7-Eleven sells about 100 million fresh-grilled hot dogs.