ALTOONA, Pa. -- The biggest beneficiary emerging from the latest iteration of the Sheetz vs. Wawa debate may be neither chain but another iconic Pennsylvania convenience-store brand—Rutter’s. Since Gov. Tom Wolf named the York-based retailer as his favorite, Rutter’s has become a third-party candidate in the debate. Signaling that it’s in the game, Rutter’s is planning to add its first store in Sheetz’s hometown, Altoona, along with other growth in the area.
An upcoming documentary about Sheetz and Wawa promises optimistically to end the debate while adding new fuel to the longtime rivalry.
Pittsburgh filmmaker Matthew Fridg is directing "Sheetz vs. Wawa: The Movie." The advertisements show a split outline of Pennsylvania with the words, "We settle this here. We settle this now."
According to the film's website, sheetzvswawa.com, Fridg is a Pennsylvania native and is "keenly aware of the unique rivalry."
Wolf, however, tweeted that the movie is missing what he called "the real winner," Rutter’s.
Rutter's has been in York since 1747. "We expanded from the agricultural roots and got into the beverage and dairy business in 1921. It expanded into restaurants and later opened the first convenience stores in 1968," Chief Customer Officer Derek Gaskins told WJAC.
Gaskins said the corporation is expanding out of the York and Harrisburg regions. He said new locations are coming to West Virginia and Maryland, but several are also popping up in Sheetz markets such as Duncansville, Pa., which got its first Rutter’s last summer. The borough is set for a second location, and a new Pinecroft, Pa., location is also on its way. In Altoona, Rutter’s plans to flip an old Kings store into its first site in Sheetz's hometown.
Rutter’s has already been competing with Sheetz in its home region for years, and Gaskins said the chain is ready for some more friendly competition there. "As we have our steady growth, it's only natural that we bump into these world-class players, be it Speedway, Sheetz, Wawa, Royal Farms and some of the other brands," he said.
In a statement provided to WJAC, Sheetz spokesperson Nick Ruffner said, "We enjoy the friendly competition that we get from all of our competitors in each of the six states Sheetz operates in today."
With more than $5.6 billion in revenue and more than 18,500 employees, Sheetz operates 568 c-stores in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, Ohio, West Virginia and North Carolina. It ranked No. 17 on CSP's 2017 Top 202.
Wawa, Pa.-based Wawa has nearly 800 c-stores in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, Florida and Washington, D.C. It ranked No. 13 on CSP's 2017 Top 202.