Dozens line up overnight for free gift cards from new Sheetz store

August 18, 2011|By CALEB CALHOUN |

HAGERSTOWN — Tyler Clipp, 20, of Hagerstown said he waited in line all night from 6 p.m. Wednesday for the new Sheetz gas station and convenience store to open on Eastern Boulevard Thursday morning.

He and his girlfriend, Kayla Butts, 21, were the first of about 50 people to gather outside the store before the grand opening at 11 a.m.

The reason? The first 50 people in line were given store gift cards worth $100.

"When the store opens I will have been out here for 16 hours," Clipp said. "Nobody else was out here until 8:30 last night."

Butts, 21, of Hagerstown, said she slept in the car through part of the night.

"I think we all took naps at some point," she said. "But we made a lot of great friends here."

Funkstown resident Sara Renner, 20, said she showed up with friends around 11 p.m. Wednesday. She said they played games all night to stay awake.

"We set up a camp site and have been sitting there playing card games," she said. "We didn't sleep at all."

By around 3 a.m., 50 people were waiting for the store to open, according to Clipp.

At about 7 a.m., store employees began handing out coffee to people waiting in line. They also took down the names of the first 50 people in line, and then did a roll call every 30 minutes, according to Sheetz District Manager Beth Towns.

If a person did not respond when his or her name was called, that person got bumped off the list for the $100 store gift card, Towns said.

The new store opened with a ribbon-cutting ceremony just before 11 a.m., with Sheetz employees and managers from the store participating.

The company also made a $2,500 donation to Special Olympics as part of its opening, Towns said.

It is the seventh Sheetz store in Hagerstown, according to the Sheetz website, Towns said it is the first new store to open in Hagerstown in nearly two decades.

"We're really excited about having the Sheetz store at this location because we need a new Sheetz store in town," she said. "I've been with this company 17 years, and this is the first new store (to open here) in all that time.

"We had our first person (in line) last evening before I left here," Towns said. "When I walked through the doors (Thursday morning), there were some sleepy people, but they were pretty excited."

The convenience store has its own dining lounge, and a coffee and smoothie bar. Customers can order handmade specialty coffee drinks, Towns said.

Sheetz was established in 1952 in Altoona, Pa. It opened its first store in Hagerstown in 1982, she said.

The company now has more than 395 stores and 14,500 employees throughout Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Maryland, Virginia, Ohio and North Carolina, according to the company website.

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