Pa. Lt. Gov. Toutz Sheetz in Support of Liquor Privatization

Retailer's "convenience restaurant" is proof that model can work in Pennsylvania

Jim Cawley (left), manager Carla Imler, executive vice
president of marketing Louie Sheetz (Source: Office
of Lt. Governor)

ALTOONA, Pa. -- Pennsylvania Lieutenant Governor Jim Cawley stopped by a Sheetz convenience store in Altoona on Wednesday, the only Sheetz that can sell beer in the Keystone State.

Cawley said the time has come to get government out of the business of selling alcohol and let the private sector provide greater convenience and selection for consumers.

While c-stores like Sheetz cannot sell alcohol under current law, restaurants are permitted to sell a six pack of beer. In 2007, after a long regulatory battle, Sheetz opened a restaurant, which it calls a "convenience restaurant," adjacent to this store and obtained a restaurant liquor license.

"If you want proof positive that in the twenty-first century, the private sector is perfectly capable of selling alcohol in Pennsylvania, look no further than this Sheetz in Altoona," Cawley said.

"Pennsylvanians ... just love the opportunity to get beer here when you're on your way home, off to an event, entertaining or just stopping for an MTO (Made To Order)," Louie Sheetz, executive vice president of marketing, told WSAC-TV. Sheetz said the company have more than 2,000 beer transactions a week at this store, more than any of the 200 Sheetz locations in other states.

Sheetz currently sells beer and wine in five other states, including Ohio and Maryland.

"Consumers in other states enjoy the convenience of picking up beer at their local Sheetz. Why not Pennsylvanians? Why not at a Wawa or a Turkey Hill or any of the other great convenience stores we have in our state? It is time for the government to get out of this business," Cawley said.

Under Governor Tom Corbett 's privatization proposal, c-stores could sell beer by the six-pack; grocery stores and pharmacies could sell up to a 12-pack of beer and up to six bottles of wine; and major retailers, like Target, Wal-Mart and Costco, could sell beer by the case and up to six bottles of wine.

Beer distributors would no longer be limited to selling beer by the case and could also sell wine and spirits, making them a one-stop-shop for all alcohol.

Cawley noted that the governor would require private sellers to use ID monitoring devices and would increase funding for enforcement by 22%.

Established in 1952 in Altoona, Pa., Sheetz has more than $6 billion in annual revenue and more than 15,000 employees. The company operates approximately 440 locations throughout Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Maryland, Virginia, Ohio and West Virginia. All of the Sheetz locations are open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and offer fresh food items such as Sheetz' signature Made-To-Order (MTO) items that include Angus beef burgers, premium grilled chicken sandwiches, freshly made salads, French fries, onion rings and more, ordered through touch-screen order-point terminals.. The stores also feature MTGo! and Shweetz Bakery lines of sandwiches, wraps, donuts and muffins, along with Sheetz Bros. Coffeez, a full-service espresso and smoothie bar staffed by a trained barista where customers can order handmade specialty coffee drinks including lattes, cappuccinos and mochas--hot, frozen or iced.