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Finding fanatics.

I continue visiting convenience stores and seeing them upgrade their decor, their branding, their packaging, and their shopper-interface technology. Last month, I also noticed wide store-to-store variations in cleanliness. In one particular Wawa store of intermediate age, the coffee area literally sparkled, and I complimented an 80-something woman who I'd seen bustling around shining already clean counters on each of my visits. "Is it thanks to you that the coffee service area in this Wawa absolutely glistens?" I asked. She grinned a large grin and said: "I'm fanatic about it, I love making it sparkle, and tomorrow is my 25th anniversary. I used to teach school, and when my husband died, I came to work here after school so I wouldn't be lonely. Now that I've retired from school, I work here in the mornings and love it more than ever.")

How about screening employees for the love of cleanliness or horror reactions to messy or dirty counters? Are older workers more likely to get serious pleasure from sparkle than younger workers? Is the growing popularity of Depression-era glassware an expression of an appetite for sparkle? (It is said to have become the number one collectable in the U.S.) Are any of our readers old enough to remember the Sparkle Plenty doll who was born in the Superman comic strip as the daughter of B.O. Plenty and Gravel Gertie? Would it make economic sense to license the Sparkle Plenty name for a line of cleaning products? The connections here are a little weird and far-out, but anything a food retailer or restaurant can do to associate their stores with sparkle has is probably worth its weight in gold if not diamonds.

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Title Annotation:convenience stores visit
Publication:The Shopper Report
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jan 1, 2011
Words:283
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