Written by Phin Upham
Bob Sheetz started his business in 1952 when he purchased a dairy store from his father. The store’s location was in Altoona, Pennsylvania, and Bob set out to work the store himself. He recruited his brother Steve for help in 1961, and built their brand.
Sheetz Qwik Stopper, the second store the two opened, began selling in 1963. Within five years, the brothers had expanded to a third store, and by 1972 that total had risen to fourteen stores. Sheetz also added a working gas station to his Central Pennsylvania store.
In 1983, the brothers opened their 100th store, and Bob retired soon after. He handed the reigns formally to Steve. Steve held onto the company until 1995, when he gave Bob’s son Stan the lead position and took on a position as chairman of the board. Sheetz is still a family-owned company, with at least five family members sitting on the board.
For a brief time during the 90s, Sheetz sold a popular brand of cola it made called “It!” The soda developed a huge cult following, but the company took it off the shelves for no particular reason. It then replaced all of its in-store soda taps with Pepsi products, with Coke and Diet Coke remaining the only options for cola.
Today, Sheetz manages 400 locations in six states in the Northeast. It has more than 13,000 employees, and prides itself on being company-owned and operated. The company, like In-N-Out, has no plans to franchise its operations or sell to third party interests.