So established is Circle K Midwest that even brand-new vehicles recognize what its red-and-white logo stands for—fuel, snacks, and everything else a car might need to keep powering down the road with its driver. Circle K's story starts back in 1951, when Fred Hervey bought three Kay's Food Stores in El Paso, Texas. Under his guidance, these three little shops grew into the more than 3,000 convenience stores that crouch on our nation's street corners today.
After rolling up to a Circle K, drivers can pump their faithful roadsters full of high-octane fuel and send them skipping through a car wash to experience the cleansing touch of Blue Coral Beyond Green and Rain-X products. Then it's time to step inside the air-conditioned shop for a peek at the provisions. Rows of sodas hibernate behind glass doors, and snacks, candy, and their ATM guardians stand boldly out in the open. Some Circle Ks also offer the Take Away Fresh Café, which presents an appetizing lineup of healthy road fare including sandwiches, fruit cups, and fresh-cut vegetables. Drivers can gear up for a long drive with premium coffees or enjoy a cold Polar Pop, whose specially formulated cup keeps drinks colder thanks to the family of tiny snowmen trapped in its foam walls.
Since 1945, Fuller's Carwash, Detail Center & Fast Stop has mollycoddled motor vehicles with a slew of auto services. Founder Bob Fuller's relatives manage each of the auto center's 11 locations, which sprout up every time someone buries a ratchet in fertile soil. Skilled technicians populate the work bays and invite vehicles inside for oil changes, auto repairs, and tire rotations that extend the life of vehicular shoes by encouraging even tread wear. Soft-cloth car washes and meticulous detailing services bolster a car’s resale value and ensure it stays as pristine as the day it was delivered by a factory-assembled stork.
Welcoming harried hair owners to find respite amid high ceilings and dreamy blue hues, the professional pamperists at True Colors Salon rely on organic haircare products and advanced techniques to renovate neglected noodle nests. Spicy up boring head threads with a new hue ($55+ for all-over color), or bestow tinted spunk to the best-behaving strands ($45+ for partial foil). True Colors Salon’s friendly mane tamers will groom overgrown head gardens into well-coifed masterpieces free of tangles, split ends, and crabgrass ($30 for women’s haircut; $20 for men; $15 for children), or sculpt elegant updos ($45+) to suit any evening of dining, dancing, or fancy mopping.
Attendants at Legacy Auto Detail kick off every service with a hand wash, using nimble digits to pluck the tiniest specks of dirt from car surfaces. This attention to detail knows no bias for antique hot rods or overburdened minivans, as the staff members groom auto bodies of all statuses with the same in-depth attention. They leave rides gleaming inside and out with artfully applied buffers, waxes, and applications of Armor All, and smatterings of shampoo and conditioner produce freshly laundered seats. The versatile menu of services also includes tiered wash packages and add-ons that target specific imperfections such as pet odors, rust, and food morsels stuck in the hood ornament's teeth.
Main St. Car Wash's self-serve buggy baths restore the confidence of sullied cars and standard SUVs in a zippy three minutes. Auto owners steer their roadsters into one of the two drive-thru bays to wash them from the top of the frame down to the underbody and wheels, apply body polish that reaches into the past and pulls back the showroom shine, and finally honor their ride with a ceremonial reciting of the VIN number. After the bath, drivers can draw a vacuum and aim it at their cars' interior crevices, wipe panels and dashes clean, and free their windows from unsightly smudges.
With more than 175 locations nationwide and more than 35 years in the business, Car-X Tire & Auto has earned itself a prime spot in the parking garage of quality car care and customer service. Skilled mechanics prep road wagons for tough winters by replacing busted-up sludge with a fresh batch of up to 5 quarts of multigrade oil. Auto doctors also fix up rides with new windshield wipers (up to 24” in length) and tire rotations that ensure snug stops in case of icy patches or drag races against reindeer. During the battery and charging-system check, technicians carefully examine autos to make sure they'll be ready to start up on command. This service runs about 60 minutes long and wraps up with a full-vehicle courtesy inspection that ensures essential components, including tires, brakes, and suspension systems, are healthy enough to cruise the open road without requiring training wheels or being pulled by a retired racehorse.