Gas stations in SC are really more like convenience stations | Business


Then Spinx on Glenn McConnell Parkway opened. What started as a “let’s just check it out” quickly became a weekly after-school tradition.

“We loved our Friday slushy tradition, but the machines were often broken at 7-Eleven, and it was pretty dirty in the food and drink area,” Lombardi said. “We switched to Spinx where it’s noticeably cleaner and the machines actually work.”

Her sons now look forward to this trip, cheering on their way every week.

And that’s exactly what Parker, Jordan, Buck and Spinks want. To be a destination families look forward to visiting. One you hope comes to your community.

“We’re competitors, but at the end of the day, we are trying to be a service to the community,” Buck said.

Convenience factor

When Spinks founded his first operation in 1972, he knew time was essential to the American family. One of the first to introduce pay-at-the-pump conveniences, he also introduced a drive-thru grocery at his third South Carolina location in 1978.

“You could get gas, pull up to the pay window and order anything from milk to bread to eggs,” he said.

“I had food service and a car wash on the back of the lot, and all those things were strange to a customer back then.”

Over time, those gas stations grew sophisticated, able to technologically deliver one-stop services. A place where the value of convenience supersedes all.

Jordan of Refuel said he knows consumers can go to a Costco and save a few bucks; he also knows they don’t always have the time or energy.

If anything, the pandemic only exacerbated how daunting a grocery store can be when shoppers need a single item or need it quickly.

Corner Store Community Spaces_001.JPG

Mark Jordan, founder and CEO of Refuel, shows off the boiled peanuts counter at Refuel Market, May 23, 2024, on Daniel Island. Jordan reflects on having more community spaces when he was growing up in the Charleston area than exist today. He says he wants to help remedy that by providing open tables inside and outside the building. “Seating has really paid off here,” he says.

“We sell a lot of the same things that big stores, grocery stores and drug stores do, and for competitive prices,” he said.

Convenience stores are also open rain or shine. Sometimes they’re providing food to first responders and supplies to families in need.

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