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The 5 Best and 5 Worst Convenience Stores

You’ve probably stopped into a convenience store to pick up some odds and ends. You might suddenly need something like bandaids or a snack and find a local shop to pick them up.

You can easily spot these little shops while traveling anywhere, but not all of them are worth visiting.

Today we’ll cover which shops you should swing by and which ones you should skip.

Let’s dive in!

What Makes a Convenience Store Good?

A good pitstop on a road trip should help you get back on the road refreshed. We always look for places with clean bathrooms and a wide variety of items. The ideal convenience store will have everything you need, from batteries to souvenirs and snacks. You don’t want to swing by one place for the restroom and another to get your supplies. It’s just a hassle!

Another thing that earns them a good ranking is their refreshment selection. Travelers commonly look for drinks and snacks when they make a quick roadside stop. One person in a car might be in the mood for a sandwich, and another may just want a candy bar. Again, we don’t want to stop at several locations to find everything.

Pro Tip: While on a road trip you may want to Avoid These 5 Gas Station Foods.

7-Eleven store
While on a road trip, make a quick pit stop at a convenient store for some treats.

Top 5 Best Convenient Stores 

You might’ve heard of these popular shops that we think make the best roadside stops. These highly-rated locations definitely warrant a visit next time you need to restock your supplies.

#1 Buc-ee’s

Buc-ee’s opened in Lake Jackson, Texas, in 1982. Since then, the company has expanded to over 40 locations in six states, with more to come. Buc-ee’s offers low gas prices and has Tesla charging stations available too. It even has spotless bathrooms.

Once inside, you’ll probably be amazed by the sheer size of this gas station. It has everything you can imagine, from household decor to barbecue grills. Speaking of BBQ, this store has become well known for its phenomenal brisket and other smoked meats.

#2 Casey’s General Stores, Inc. 

Casey’s General Stores have become a staple of the Midwest with over 2,400 locations in 16 states. You’ll often find this mini-mart in rural areas making it your only choice for refreshments, but you won’t be disappointed. Whether you need groceries, gas, or snacks, Casey’s has you covered. 

We suggest trying out their pizza on your next visit to this convenience store. Their breakfast pizzas make the perfect fuel for a long day of driving, or try classic slices like pepperoni for lunch. You can even order ahead on their app to save yourself some time. 

#3 Wawa 

People from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, constantly rave about Wawa, and we think it deserves the hype. The made-to-order hoagies and fresh coffee make it a worthy roadside stop. Refill your tank outside and fill your stomach inside.

Wawa started as a milk delivery service in 1902 and became a brick-and-mortar shop in 1964. Today you can visit nearly 1,000 locations in six different states. This convenience store recently began operating drive-thrus so you can get your fix without getting out of your car.

#4 7-Eleven 

You know how the saying goes, “Oh, thank heaven for 7-Eleven!” The glowing numeric sign signals a market open 24 hours a day, seven days per week, so they’ve got you covered no matter the time of day. 

It first opened its doors in Dallas, Texas, in 1927. This convenience store chain has over 13,000 shops in North America and over 80,000 worldwide. 

Some locations offer gas and electric charging stations, but all have great grab-and-go snacks. You can’t go wrong with one of their signature slushies on a hot day. 

#5 Sheetz 

This Pennsylvania-based chain can also be found in several other states, including Ohio and Maryland. Sheetz, founded in 1952, has over 630 stores in the United States, mainly in the Northeast. The shops have been operating 24/7 since the 1980s, making them an easy pitstop for late-night (or early-morning) travelers.

Though many locations offer gas, this convenience store has become mostly known for its food, including macaroni and cheese bites and totchos. Patrons also really enjoy blueberry muffins from Sheetz. 

Male convenience store worked
Not all convenience stores are equal. Some offer better quality food, drinks, and spots to stretch your legs.

Top 5 Worst Convenience Stores 

We’ve probably all been to an awful roadside store. Maybe your feet stuck to the floor, or their shelves seemed picked over. Whether it’s their inferior products, lousy selection, or safety concerns, you should avoid these five subpar chains.

#1 Shell Gas 

We couldn’t find a single site that gives Shell more than two of five stars in a review. The website HissingKitty recorded over 100 complaints about the chain; for reference, Buc-ee’s received only one complaint. 

One location mixed their gasoline with water causing patrons thousands of dollars in damage. Other angry customers have submitted complaints about other issues, including racist employees and generally terrible customer service. Save yourself the hassle, and refill your tank somewhere else.

FYI: Can you park overnight at a Shell Gas Station?

#2 Circle K 

Circle K also has notoriously unhelpful workers, but they have a good reason. Employees have made it known that they receive less pay than workers at similar chains, and they expect more work. 

One website lists 238 negative and only 35 positive interactions with these overworked and underpaid clerks. It also lists several employee grievances, including former workers who were upset when asked to change the sell-by date on unsold food.

The lack of food safety has led to several documented cases of food poisoning. If you simply must grab a snack from a Circle K, don’t get anything perishable.

#3 BP 

Like Shell, BP has also had problems with selling gasoline. After millions of gallons of bad gas were delivered to hundreds of stations, more than 20,000 people faced serious damage to their cars. BP provided people affected with just $50 and only if they had a receipt. 

You may also remember the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the largest marine oil spill ever, in 2010. After a number of lawsuits, the judge found BP guilty of gross negligence and willful misconduct, which caused the accident that killed 11 people and poured over 130 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. 

While you could fill up your tank at one of these convenience stores, we’d rather patronize a better business.

#4 Citgo 

After violating the Clean Air Act for over a decade by ignoring guidelines at their refinery in southern Texas, Citgo, which rakes in over $24 billion per year, paid just a $2 million fine. Residents affected by the pollution received nothing. 

Besides the massive oil company’s questionable ethics, reviews constantly mention rude employees, dirty bathrooms, and incorrect charges on debit cards. We recommend you take your business elsewhere.

#5 Chevron 

Customers like to fill their tanks at Chevron even though it’s more expensive because their fuel comes with Techron in it, which prevents clogging. Don’t get sucked into this marketing tactic! No matter where you get your gas, it’ll have anti-clogging agents. 

Besides their shady sales campaign, patrons often complain about the cleanliness of Chevrons, and not all their locations have restrooms for customers. When you see this convenience store, keep driving and get what you need somewhere else.

Pro Tip: Avoid committing any of these 7 Deadly Sins of Gas Stations on your trip.

Convenience Stores Can Make or Break Your Pit Stop

From shady marketing tactics and selling faulty fuel to dirty restrooms and bad customer service, you should avoid some convenience stores. Luckily, we found several chains that excel in all the areas where the bad ones fall flat. 

So grab that brisket at Buc-ee’s, pizza at Casey’s, and a hoagie at Wawa. Stop into 7-Eleven or Sheetz in the middle of the night for your late-night needs. You’ll be glad you stopped at these great shops!

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