Monday, February 5, 2007

Letter to a Business Executive About Choice to Sell Beverage Alcohol

The name of Sheetz is very well known in central Pennsylvania area and is getting to be known in other parts of the state and some neighboring states as well. The Sheetz family is held up as an example of great success in business expansion with its many convenience stores. It all started years ago with a small "mom & pop" type of operation in Altoona -- a small store whose owner was affectionately known as "Pop" Sheetz -- a man well liked and highly respected. Over time family members got involved and more stores were added to the business enterprize. Business boomed as product lines were expanded, including the selling of gasoline, hot and cold foods, etc. Family members were a very important part of the growth experience. A few months ago the Sheetz family made known its plans to apply for a license in which at one of their expanded facilities which has a restaurant-like atmosphere, they would sell beer. There was controversy over this, but the Sheetz fellows pushed ahead in spite of the opposition. Just a few days ago amidst a lot of high profile publicity featuring Mr. Stan Sheetz as the spokesman, beer is being made available at one of their facilities in Altoona -- the first ever in Pennsylvania, although in one or more neighboring states they are already trafficking in sale of alcoholic beverages. Below is a letter just composed and sent to Mr. Stan Sheetz.

COPY of letter sent to Mr. Stan Sheetz at corporate headquarters in Altoona PA ->

Monday, February 05, 2007

Mr. Stan Sheetz
Sheetz, Inc.
Altoona PA

Dear Mr. Sheetz:

I was confronted with the publicity surrounding the step you have taken to sell beer in one of your establishments in the Altoona area. You also made public comments relative to this “milestone” with an emphasis on “responsibility” and abiding by the “rules” for those businesses dispensing alcoholic beverages.

The one thing you cannot do is absolutely guarantee that every single person who drinks alcohol at your place will not cause an accident or get involved in a domestic dispute or create a public disturbance where others will be injured or killed!

It is impossible to calculate the total carnage which has resulted in this country due to use of alcohol laced beverages. This involves death, injury, broken families, broken relationships, loss of employment, and shortened life spans!

For example, how would you like to be the one to have to go to the parents of a teenager and tell them their son had been mangled and killed while riding his motorcycle because some character with a suspended license had to have his beer and ran the boy over at a speed of at least 85 MPH according to police estimates. Then you have to go with the boy’s older brother to the hospital to help identify him. Did you ever see the nurse pull that cover back and expose a face that looked like someone hacked it up with a meat cleaver? And then 3 days later you conduct a funeral for that young man cut off in the prime of his life. I was the one who went to the parents, helped identify the boy, and had his funeral – and you know what? It wasn’t very easy to do and you might just begin to understand why I don’t take a “Ho hum, so what, lukewarm approach” to a business decision to begin selling beverage alcohol.

I have been a regular customer of Sheetz, Inc. for years, but no longer. I realize that the loss of one customer will not cut into your profits in any significant manner. But this I do know – the time will come when your profits will not begin to cover the price to be paid ultimately for the choice to add beverage alcohol to your “menu.”

It won’t be tomorrow or next week or even next year. BUT that time will come and tragically there will be no way to back track and undo what was a most unwise and foolish decision not only for time but far worse, for eternity!

Still contending at

Clayton D. Harriger, Pastor

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