As part of the second generation of Sheetz family leaders, Ryan Sheetz is making a difference by providing the voice of a younger audience, literally and figuratively representing the millennial generation for the company and its guests.
Sheetz grew up in the c-store and petroleum industry and has more than a decade of experience as director of recruiting and staffing. More recently, he has focused on coffee and brand development for a chain built on both, with an intense focus on raising the bar for quality and targeting younger consumers. When the chain introduced fresh cold-brewed coffee in September 2016, Sheetz said, “With millennials drinking more specialty coffee than any other generation out there, we hope to fill more of their cups and also introduce other coffee drinkers to cold brew.”
When the company tweaked its strategy to build restaurant/grocery concept stores (no fuel!), the second location to open was on the campus of Sheetz’s alma mater, Penn State. And when the chain committed to selling only cage-free eggs by 2025, he said the move was an effort to meet “the preferences and expectations” of the chain’s animal-welfare-conscious consumers. And even he calls a more recent innovation—launching voice ordering through Amazon’s Alexa smart speaker—a “next-generation” move, keeping the chain that pioneered touchscreen ordering 25 years ago ahead of the curve yet again.
These examples are indicative of Sheetz’s interest in keeping the family chain on the cutting edge of retailing and squarely in consumers’ consciousness. “We are constantly reinventing ourselves and bringing innovation to our industry,” said Sheetz when the Penn State store opened in September 2015. “This new restaurant concept is just one example of how Sheetz will continue to push the envelope.”
1985 —Year that Sheetz introduced coffee bars into its c-stores