A Pop Culture Icon for the Ages
What do these things have in common?
The comic book.
The gas station.
Answer? They were all invented in the U.S., uniquely American contributions to the world.
Okay, maybe the very first gas station was established in Wiesloch, Germany in 1888. But that was a pharmacy that sold gas! The world’s first service station built specifically for selling gas opened in St. Louis, Missouri in 1905.
How’s that for American ingenuity! I think Arthur “Fonz” Fonzarelli might give us a thumbs-up on that one. No doubt it would get a big “Shazam!” out of Gomer Pyle.
After all, they both worked in gas stations.
So did some real life celebrities…Michael Douglas, Clint Eastwood, Johnny Depp, John Mayer…even Carrie Underwood worked at one as a cashier. Good company, don’t you agree?
And at least one popular fictional character, in his quest for spiritual and physical happiness, found his 94-year old mentor working at a gas station.
Yep, the gas station is woven into the fabric of American pop culture, and the evidence isn’t just in the iconic logos of Circle K and Sunoco rising high above the U.S. landscape. Ice cream entrepreneurs Ben and Jerry opened their first store in a converted gas station. Some of the coolest restaurants in our country are built in old or still-functioning gas stations. And the gas station is a source for transforming pop culture into art, both functional and creative (one of the rarest, most valuable art books in the world is titled, Twentysix Gasoline Stations).
Of course, pop culture always evolves, and so has the gas station, whose auto repair presence has been largely replaced by the C-store (sorry, Fonz!). Forward-thinking operators have adapted to this change and thrived, assisted by the right C-store back office automation.
So stand proud, C-store operators. You are the proprietors of an ongoing pop culture phenomenon, the center of what’s happening now. And if you see the Incredible Hulk playing some soulful riffs on his saxophone in front of your store or the competition’s, take satisfaction in knowing that nothing could be more American.