I don’t know about you, but Coffee Shops used to be my 3rd place. There was work, my home and the coffee shop (not in that order, coffee came first…LOL). As times have changed, I too have changed my habits. I still grab coffee on the way to work and grab a munchie here and there, but normally it happens when I am filling up my car in the morning. To be honest, I never spent much time thinking about my changing habit. But GasBuddy has.
Seems as though people have discovered the convenience store as the new 3rd place. Not only can you get gas for your car, they have food, they have a place to sit, they have Wi-Fi and, the all important, coffee. I used to laugh at the old curmudgeons who used to sit at the convenience stores, back in the 80s and 90s, and hang out telling big fish stories. Now today I go into these same convenience stores and gas stations and see younger people in their 20s and 30s grabbing coffee, something to eat and some are hanging out on their phones (assuming they have connected to the store’s Wi-Fi). So what has changed?
According to Gas Buddy:
- Technology tops the list: Most have high speed internet with inside and outside seating, plus many have charging stations, so if you are on a trip and forgot the car charger, why not grab a cup of coffee and enjoy the Fall-like weather while you wait for your phone to be out of the 10% battery life range.
- Better Food and Coffee: Many places, like Casey’s, has made to order food, like pizza, burgers, full-breakfast sandwiches and more. These stores have improved their coffee product so much that places like, the national chain, 7-11, beat Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts for best iced coffee. If you haven’t recently, try a Casey’s or BP coffee, it may change your opinion. Some convenience stores, like the chain Wawa, offer beer at their growler station….now THAT is worth checking out.
- Open and Inviting: According to the story, places like QuikTrip are making their locations more accessible for people to get their coffee and hang out. They aren’t tucking the coffee and soda station together in the back, like they used to. The coffee is now up front and easy to see. The you have certain places that are adding in table seating, so you don’t feel like you have to rush off to work or get back in your car to enjoy your coffee and food.
- More Lively: Because of the new Open and Inviting atmosphere of these locations, you feel more inclined to hang out there at lunch, where people of all walks of life come and go all day from construction workers to doctors and teachers. The theory is, if you see more people and some of them are like you, the more likely you will be to frequent that location and buy things there more often. And quite frankly, I can totally go for that idea.
So the question is, who has the BEST coffee in your state? Funny enough, GasBuddy made a list for that as well:
Colorado: Kum & Go
Connecticut: Cumberland Farms
Illinois: Kelley’s Market
Massachusetts: Cumberland Farms
Minnesota: Kwik Trip
Mississippi: Circle K
Montana: Town Pump
North Carolina: QuikTrip
North Dakota: Casey’s
Nebraska: Kum & Go
New Hampshire: Cumberland Farms
New Jersey: Wawa
New Mexico: Chevron
New York: Cumberland Farms
Rhode Island: Cumberland Farms
South Carolina: QuikTrip
South Dakota: Casey’s
Wisconsin: Kwik Trip
West Virginia: Sheetz