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Eclipse Update: Convenience Stores, Gas Stations Embrace Solar Event

Chains including 7-Eleven, Applegreen, Buc-ee’s, GetGo, Pilot Flying J, Sheetz, Stewart’s Shops selling eclipse glasses, offering deals, making sure stores fully stocked with fuel, food, snacks, beverages and merchandise
krispy kreme eclipse doughnut
Photographs courtesy of Krispy Kreme, Sheetz

Gas stations and convenience stores are getting ready for the Great North American Eclipse on April 8, the path of which will stretch from Texas to Maine in the United States. It is the biggest solar event since the Aug. 21, 2017, eclipse that cut a swath from Oregon to South Carolina.

Authorities expect the spectacle to draw crowds from around the country as people travel to areas in the path of totality to view the eclipse, with heavy traffic along affected roadways, hotels booked far in advance and fuel supplies at gas stations and food and merchandise at convenience stores stretched to the limit.

Be Prepared

Local authorities, industry associations and businesses, therefore, are trying to be prepared. In Texas, for example, several counties have issued disaster declarations in advance of the event, according to a report by KXAN. Through a declaration, the counties can take action more easily to protect citizens, said the report, and it also frees up funding to bring additional law enforcement support.

Organizations are urging residents to fill up their tanks before the weekend, due to the possibility of gas shortages, reported WCMH NBC4. “Because Ohio is in a perfect spot for viewing the eclipse, there’s going to be a lot of people here and with an influx of people the resources get tight,” Kara Hitchens, public affairs manager for AAA, told the news outlet. “Same can be true for gas stations.”

Lorain County (Ohio) Department of Emergency Management Director Dave Freeman added, “If we have large crowds, I do see that as a concern, especially with the smaller mom-and-pop stations.”

Delaware County (Ohio) Emergency Management Director Alex McCarthy said reports from the 2017 eclipse show fuel shortages could be a challenge, but he’s not concerned about widespread fuel shortages locally. “I suspect that gas stations near the exit ramps for I-71 will see the most demand, and this is where the greatest risk of shortages would probably show up,” he told WCMH. “If there are supply challenges at those locations, there are a lot of other gas stations across the county for people to turn to.”

Amanda Baron, associate director of the Repair Shops and Gasoline Dealers Association of New York, says Albany-based RGSDA has been planning and working with distributors ahead of the event to make sure business owners can meet the demand, reported Rochester First.

‘See’-Stores

C-store chains including 7-Eleven, Applegreen, Buc-ee’s, GetGo, Pilot Flying J, Sheetz and Stewart’s Shops, along with many other retailers, are selling eclipse glasses or offering deals and making sure that stores are fully stocked with food, snacks, beverages and merchandise, as well as fuel.

In response to the expected crowds, convenience-store retailer Applegreen, which manages the New York State Thruway plazas, has promised to be “fully stocked” to accommodate the needs of eclipse viewers, reported Finger Lakes 1. The Thruway Authority will increase maintenance and traffic staff from the weekend before the eclipse until April 9, focusing on seamless service and traffic flow, said the report.

sheetz eclipse doughnutNewly announced promotions include:

In a deal that it says “will ‘eclipse’ the competition,” Altoona, Pennsylvania-based Sheetz has announced that it is offering customers $2 off any doughnut on Monday for My Sheetz Rewardz members. Members must add the offer via the OFFERZ tab on the Sheetz app, the company said.

Pilot Co., Knoxville, Tennessee, says it has more than 600 Pilot Flying J locations in and around the path of the eclipse. “From certified eclipse viewing glasses, a much-needed break from the anticipated traffic, and grab-and-go favorites for everyone in the car, Pilot is your trusty wingman for your Totality Trip,” the company said in a promotion announced just ahead of the event. Also, on April 8, customers can enter the Cinna-clipse Giveaway on the Pilot Flying J Facebook page for a chance to turn win Cinnabon for a year. Entrants can comment on the Cinna-clipse post with photos of their eclipse journeys and memories, the company said.

GetGo, the convenience-store division of the Pittsburgh-based Giant Eagle supermarket chain, also has announced that it is offering free eclipse glasses at select locations while supplies last, the retailer said.

Krispy Kreme, meanwhile, is selling a “Total Solar Eclipse Doughnut—an Original Glazed Doughnut dipped in black chocolate icing, adorned with silver sprinkles, piped with a buttercream made with Oreo pieces and a whole Oreo cookie in the center.”

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