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Sheetz Adding More WV Locations

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By JAMES E. CASTO

For The State Journal

The fast-growing Sheetz Inc. chain, which already has 44 convenience store locations in West Virginia, continues to expand its footprint in the Mountain State.

The Altoona, Pa.-based company has announced it plans to build a new location in Huntington in the 2200 block of 5th Avenue and says it would like to build three additional locations in the city.

Meanwhile, South Charleston City Council has given preliminary approval to re-zoning property in Spring Hill so Sheetz can build there. The Berkeley County Development Authority has sold the company a site. And the company has two other West Virginia sites under contract, one in Beckley and another in Ripley.

In Huntington, Sheetz has signed a long-term lease with the owners of the former R.F. Steiner truck dealership and plans to demolish the dealership's long-vacant building in January. The building occupies most of a city block.

The new Huntington store, which will be located just east of the Marshall University campus, is expected to open in June 2014. It will be the company's fourth location in Cabell County. Sheetz already operates stores at W. 18th Street in Huntington, at the Huntington Mall in Barboursville and in Milton.

In South Charleston, the new Sheetz will occupy a city block along MacCorkle Avenue, between McDonald Street and Park Avenue.

The new Sheetz in Berkeley County will be located at the intersection of Winchester Avenue and Business Park Drive in the Tabor Station Business Park. The company paid the Berkeley County Development Authority $1 million for the site.

In Beckley, Sheetz plans to build at the intersection of Robert C. Byrd Drive and Neville Street. When it opens next summer, the new location will be the company's fourth in Beckley.

The company's new Ripley store is to be built at the current location of the McCoy's Inn, just off Interstate 77. The hotel will have to be demolished before construction can start. The company says it also hopes to build at a second site in Jackson County.

Sheetz, Inc was founded by Bob Sheetz in 1952 when he purchased one of his father's five dairy stores in Altoona. His brother Steve later joined him in the business. In 1963, a second store was opened. Five years later, the brothers opened a third store. Gasoline pumps were added to the stores for the first time in 1973. The brothers said they planned to expand at the rate of one store per year, but by 1993 they had opened 100 stores. The following year, Bob Sheetz retired and handed over the leadership of the company to his brother Steve. In 1995, Stan Sheetz, Bob's son, became president and Steve assumed the position of chairman of the board. Today, Sheetz remains a family-run business.

The company now operates more than 450 locations throughout Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Maryland, Virginia, Ohio and North Carolina. It has more than 15,000 employees and grossed more than $6 billion in revenue in 2012. All Sheetz stores are company-owned and -operated. The company has said it has no plans to sell franchises.

Sheetz convenience stores are open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Sheetz locations offer as many as 14 fuel pumps, a menu featuring its Made-To-Order (MTO) brand food and coffee and indoor and outdoor seating areas. The company's newest locations have drive-throughs where customers place their orders on touch-screen terminals.