Sheetz, Royal Farms or Wawa? Convenience store turf wars spread to Baltimore County

The Baltimore Sun

The Mid-Atlantic turf war involving regional convenience stores like Sheetz, Wawa and Royal Farms will soon extend into Baltimore County.

A Sheetz representative confirmed Thursday that the convenience store is planning to open in Timonium, the first location for Baltimore County. Plans are in early stages and further details were not immediately available, public relations manager Nick Ruffner said in an email.

While turf wars between regional convenience store giants like Sheetz and Wawa have waged north of the Mason-Dixon Line for several years, the greater Baltimore area has traditionally been Royal Farms country. National chains such as 7-Eleven also have an established presence in the state.

Royal Farms traces its roots to Baltimore's Cloverland Dairy, organized in 1918 by three Frederick brothers, who delivered milk to Baltimore homes. The business eventually broke into the gas station and convenience store sector and ramped up expansion in the past decade. It has more than 200 locations, a majority of which are situated in Maryland.

However, Sheetz’s plans for Timonium joins 30 other Maryland locations, further cementing the company’s presence. Sheetz, based in Altoona, Pa., has 582 stores in six states — Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland and Ohio — and also traces its roots to a dairy farms.

Wawa is planning to open one store in Maryland this year, with the bulk of its expansion in 2018 taking place in Florida. Wawa is based outside Philadelphia and has more than 800 locations across Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, Florida and Washington.

As the regional giants creep deeper into new territory, consumers stand to reap the benefits. The Baltimore Sun reported in 2017 that competition keeps gas prices low among the big names and smaller independent stores alike.

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