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Get Drawn in at Sheetz

Posted in: Truckstop Travels

Editor's note: Darren Schulte, NATSO vice president of membership, frequently visits NATSO members to review their locations and offers impactful merchandising and operations improvements. Contact Schulte at dschulte@natso.com or (915) 526-5820 to learn more about the costs and details of this service.

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Have you walked into a department store and noticed how some retailers are creating a store within a store? Macy’s added a pop-up Etsy shop within its flagship Herald Square location in New York City, Meijer added a Skechers shoes concept shop to its location in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and J.C. Penny has added mini Sephora stores inside its locations. The idea is it creates a destination and makes people venture into different areas of the store. 

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Sheetz has accomplished a similar feel with the new layout it is rolling out at some locations. While the offerings all fall under the Sheetz brand, they have broken up into different stations. I haven’t seen this approach in many of our traditional locations I’ve visited, but I think it is an interesting concept we can all learn from. 

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When I walked into this particular Sheetz, immediately noticed how open and spacious it feels. It isn’t because it has more square footage. It is because of how products have been laid out inside. Everything appears to have a distinct place in the store, and you have plenty of room to move around between the different ‘pods.’ The beer cave, the beverage coolers, the coffee bar—they are all obvious destination locations. The format and the signage helps draw customers deeper into the location. 

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It is obvious these stores are built to handle volume. The cash register stand is completely away from the shopping experience. It is clear where to go to pay and where the line begins, which I like. As a shopper, it is frustrating when you aren’t sure where to go. Sheetz is focused on making sure that the purchaser or buyer doesn’t feel rushed or cramped, and this makes the whole experience better. 

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The layout and design in the store is spot on. It draws you in and encourages you to move through the store. The further in you go, the more likely you are to find something you want to buy. 

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More than anything, this location makes you feel welcome. And when you feel welcome, you’re more likely to spend money. 

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/// Did you know most weeks you can find me visiting a NATSO member truckstop location, spending three to four days, using my merchandising and operations expertise to help them grow their business? I periodically share about those great retailers I visit here on the blog. Read more Truckstop Travels here.   

Photo Credit: Darren Schulte/NATSO

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About the Author

Darren Schulte

Darren Schulte

Darren Schulte serves as Vice President of Membership at NATSO. In this role, he directs recruitment, retention and customer service for truckstop and travel plaza members. He is also responsible for developing NATSO products and programs, particularly those relating to education, research and training for truckstop and travel plaza operators.

Schulte joined NATSO with nearly three decades of experience in truckstop and travel plaza operations and merchandising, most recently as the Vice President for Retail Merchandising for TSC Global/Barjan LLC. Prior to his time with TSC Global/Barjan LLC, Schulte also worked for Petro Stopping Centers and Love’s Travel Stops and Country Stores.