Drive-Thru Convenience

Mount Vernon, Ohio, becoming a haven for such retail concepts

Published in CSP Daily News

MOUNT VERNON, Ohio -- Time is essential in our modern-day society, and faster service means more time for other things. Appropriately, drive-thru convenience stores have been thriving in Knox County, Ohio, where several drive-thru concepts have found a home, according the Mount Vernon News.

The simplicity of having what one needs without leaving the comfort of the vehicle has made the businesses flourish. But what makes these stores unique is the fast, convenient service they offer to each customer. With six centrally located in Mount Vernon, Ohio, and several [image-nocss] others throughout the county, these stores are becoming a significant part of the community, the newspaper reported.

It is the convenience of the drive-thrus that make them popular, explained Lynn Lyons, owner of Horseshoe Drive-thru in Danville, Ohio. Many small businesses have suffered for the unstable economy, but convenience stores continue to maintain a strong root in the community.

The economy is bad right now. We hear all the stories and people are more careful about what they spend, but it is the convenience, Becky Thompson, co-owner of Beck's Tack & Supply, told the newspaper.

Beck's Tack is located near a main highway, which provides a steady stream of travelers coming to and from work in Columbus.

We have a steady [stream of customers], but having the highway so close is a plus for us, said Thompson. We have been tremendously blessed.

People don't have the extra money to leave away from home so much, so they stay closer to home. So that has helped business, said Ron Hamilton, owner of RJ's Drive-thru and Carryout. When he first bought the place nine years ago, the ideal of a drive-thru was always his goal.

Customers utilize the drive-thru to get groceries, snacks and other necessities. Beer, cigarettes and pop sell the most with the drive-thru window, Hamilton said.

We carry a little bit of everythingdrinks, sandwiches, milk, eggs, bread, animal feed and medicine, said Thompson.

However, the business has its seasonal oscillations with summer being the climax. Customer count dwindles slightly during the fall and winter.

In the summertime especially, we get campers and we get different people coming in from out of town. We have regulars all year-round, and we get quite a bit of people passing through, said Hamilton.

Owners have seen the benefit of the drive-thru for the convenience-store business.

The drive-thru has made [business] grow, said Hamilton. He also hopes to expand his business with drive-thrus in other areas of Knox County.

[It's] definitely useful for people to pick up a snack, drink, said Thompson. It is the whole convenience that catches people with a drive-thru.

Not all drive-thrus are the same; many of them offers different merchandise, like at Beck's, which provides animal feed and other farming supplies, along with the essential milk and eggs.

[The drive-thru] works well because we sell animal feed, said Thompson. You don't have to get out of your car to pick up the 50-pound bags of feed. When you pull up, someone does the work for you; much nicer than having to get out of the car.

And sometimes time is of the essence, she added. [Drive-thrus] cut time if you're in a rush.

The simplicity of the three-step process of pick, pay and leave is beneficial in stringent situations, and many residents take advantage of the accessibility drive-thrus provide.

For the elderly, it is wonderful they don't have to get out of their car, and it is better than driving across Mount Vernon, said Thompson.

I have milk and bread. You'll get someone, rather than unpack four or five kids and bring them into the store, they can just drive through here, said Lyons.

Because of the convenience of it, they don't have to get out of their vehicle especially in the wintertime when it's cold. They can sit right there and can get everything they need, said Hamilton.

We are usually steady all day, but between about 4 and 6:30 p.m. it can get pretty busy, said Thompson.

Community members are pleased with the helpful nature of the employees and ease of purchasing needed items.

I come here almost every day, said Libby Greene, a resident of Mount Liberty, Ohio. I like the convenience. I come here to get cigarettes, pop, milk and bread.