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.
Players defeat bosses, slam foosballs, and shoot aliens out of the sky at Game Haven STL. This gaming lounge brings together consoles and arcade games ranging from Atari to Xbox One in one safe space for kids and adults. Big-screen TVs and computers set up for LAN parties allow for group play, making it a good destination for birthday parties or as a place to make a new friend. In addition to video and arcade games, Game Haven hosts tabletop play?owner Gabriel Escobedo first became enamored with gaming after playing Magic: The Gathering in the early '90s. Participants can also use the free WiFi and enjoy concessions whenever they need a break from jumping over barrels or capturing mushrooms.
Imagination is given free reign at NewCastle Comics & Games, where real-time rounds of tabletop warfare are surrounded by thousands of back-issue comics from the '50s, '60s, and '70s. Faux stone walls help blur the line between reality and fantasy, calling to mind a medieval dungeon or Vincent Price's breakfast nook while also serving as a perfect backdrop for a huge assortment of new comics and graphic novels as well as Warhammer 40,000 events and Weekly Magic: The Gathering sessions. The shop also boasts a large selection of gaming cards and supplies that allows fans to step outside quotidian roles to become something other than a dutiful son, hardworking waitress, or the seventh clown into the car.
Unique home-decor items can be an extension of one’s personality. At Rambles, a mix of new and used housewares and gifts allows decorators to find the final touches for any room. While upholstered couches and area rugs can contribute to a home’s overall look, it is Rambles’ more unusual accessories—bottle-cap magnets, framed comic-book memorabilia, and vintage LIFE magazines—that spark up conversations and cover up your pet squid’s ink splatters.
Kids can experience the sensation of weightlessness over and over again at Kids World Gymnastics, which counts an in-ground trampoline amongst its 19,000 square feet of gymnastics equipment. Kids can experiment with backflips an tumbles on the trampoline, which has a foam pit around it to ensure safety. There's also a preschool section where younger kids can play comfortably without the threat of a noogie. Classes feature expert instructors that teach age-appropriate tricks as well as skill-specific maneuvers for gymnastics or cheerleading.