Hanging with the Mascots
The roster of convenience store mascots is impressive in its variety and occasional weirdness.
Mascots stopped hanging out exclusively on the sidelines of sporting events a long time ago. They’re everywhere now.
You’d be hard pressed to find greater mascot variety than in the convenience store industry. And as a result of c-stores becoming increasingly more popular with the general public, some industry mascots are enjoying more exposure than ever before.
Buc-ee’s Beaver is an excellent example. The mascot’s profile has risen as the company’s newest, giant stores have gnawed their way into the general pop-culture lexicon. Not to mention that the toothy, red-hatted rodent is featured on an onslaught of promotional items, making it one of the industry’s most visible ambassadors.
There are more. SSCS customer Circle K’s parent company, Couche-Tard, is represented by a wise (and, given store hours, likely nite) owl, who was the recent beneficiary of a makeover. You might not see him in the U.S., though. He’s spotted much more frequently north of the border.
Perhaps the most iconic fuel retailing-related mascot is one of the oldest: Dino the Sinclair Oil dinosaur. Fun fact: one of our staff from California traveled frequently with his parents cross country in the Sixties, and got a big inflatable Dino to hang at his 10th birthday party! Absolutely iconic.
Other c-store mascots of note may not have a national following, but score heavy recognition on a regional level. Wally the Wawa Goose is spotted frequently in Pennsylvania at special events, and you might meet Stinker the Skunk in Idaho. RaceWay’s mascot collab with the Atlanta Braves—known as “the Freeze”—is high profile and certainly brings a different spin to the proceedings. As for this QuickChek mascot, well, it looks like it gets around, too. If only we knew what it was.
While we’re on the subject of unusual c-store mascots, it shouldn’t be any surprise to readers of this blog that Asian countries lead the way. Japanese c-store leader Family Mart has used a mascot that’s a box of breaded deep-fried chicken with human arms and legs.
7-Eleven’s Taiwan mascot, named Open-Chan, is a celebrity in his own right. We don’t really know what it is, either, but it has a music album and a theme park in its name.
A story on a rather “portable” c-store in Dhoby Ghaut, Indonesia, states that it has “quirky tongue-in-cheek stickers of the store’s mascots.” They look a little too two-dimensional for us (unless the store is referring to its staff as mascots—yikes!).
Oh, and if you’re looking for a first person interview with a mascot, here’s a post from a few years ago.
On a sadder note: sometimes being a c-store mascot is less than fun and games, especially when you’re currently without a gig.
But lest we end on such a somber note, here’s a light-hearted question for you: do you have a favorite c-store mascot? If you do, please drop a blog comment and share the info. Thanks!