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.
As a fun slideshow demonstrates, The Little Chocolatier’s staff hand makes an array of treats that fall into four categories: candy, chocolates, nuts, and popcorn. Their handmade chocolates pack white boxes with slabs of english toffee, nut clusters, and mint fluffs spread across trays of assorted chocolates. The team also fills bags with fresh-popped popcorn covered in caramel and cheddar.
The Olive Gallery is more than a boutique store. It is a tasting room set up in the style of a Tuscan kitchen, a place to immerse oneself in flavor and explore the unexpected possibilities of artisan olive oils and vinegars. The room is filled with stainless-steel kegs called fustis, each filled with traditional, first-cold-pressed olive oils from locales such as Italy, California, Greece, or Chile. Some are filled with flavored oils, great for marinating meats or daubing onto pulse points, whereas others carry aged, flavored, or white balsamic vinegars.
The helpful staff members dole out storage tips and recipe advice for making the most of their wares, which include kitchen tools and specialty foods such as gourmet dip-mixes, spices, rubs, stuffed olives, and pastas. They also tout the health benefits of incorporating olive oil into your diet, citing lowered blood pressure, improved glycemic control, and possible anti-aging effects.
With locations throughout the Midwest, Vision Center At Meijer's eye mavens outfit more than 700 frames with lenses carefully crafted in their own laboratory to specifically suit the eyes and face of each patient. Doctors demonstrate their care for patients' eyes by making sure all of them have a precise, up-to-date prescription. The center also works to keep frame prices low to help more patients find pairs of glasses within their price ranges.
In 1927, The Southland Ice Company’s icehouses were one of the few refuges from the searing Dallas heat and marauding bands of tumbleweeds. That same year, the company’s employees realized the frigid temperatures could also preserve items such as milk and eggs. Soon, as more items and services such as gasoline were gradually added to the operation, the company expanded to stores called Totem’s. To account for the boom in popularity, the stores were kept open from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m., and to reflect these new hours, the store name was changed to 7-Eleven.
Today, 7-Eleven has nearly 50,000 locations in 16 countries. The stores are now open 24/7 and sell everything from iconic Slurpee and Big Gulp drinks to coffee, hot dogs, baked goods, and signature 7-Select products. The store’s involvement in the community matches its commitment to convenience, with generous charity donations and a pledge to the safe sale of age-restricted products.
When Prisco's Fine Foods opened in 1926, there were no shopping carts rattling down its aisles; the store was housed in the first floor of Tony and Mary Prisco's home, where they won over customers with humor and personal attention while peddling produce. Today, the store has moved into a modern location, but continues to specialize in Italian cuisine and fresh produce. An array of olive oils, herbs, and tomato products is available from both domestic and overseas sources. The store's staff also makes pastas, sauces, and pizzas in-house, providing materials for easily assembled family dinners or at-home Double Dare competitions. Butchers prepare fresh meat that is cut or ground on the premises and never cryogenically preserved. They expertly slice up Aurora Angus beef, Seaboard all natural pork, and Amish chicken, as well as over 30 kinds of housemade sausage, including italian sausage and bratwurst.