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  • Writer's pictureLiz Totton

Circle K

Circle K logo

Circle K logo

There are some things you take for granted in your daily life in your home country, like self checkout aisles in grocery stores, ice, and fully stocked, one stop drug stores. Perhaps, like me, you sorely miss a few small conveniences you had back home when you move out of your country; they vary from expat to expat. I would have never thought for a second that Circle K might be one of them for me, but it no longer has to be because it’s “coming soon” to a complex near me: mine.

Circle K? You may be wondering, the Circle K gas station quickie mart known for hot dog fixin’ bars and slurpees, really? That one? Yes, that Circle K that’s often, but not always, just a little bit dodgy and forsaken in the daytime, but then lit up and bustling by nightfall full of creatures of the night back home. It’s different here apparently. It is the Circle K, also found in Dubai, Tokyo, San Francisco and New York. The Circle K which is single-handedly pioneering convenience store shopping. It’s opening eight floors below me, and I could not be happier!!

Circle K is a pioneer in new markets such as Indonesia and Vietnam, where it is transforming the market from traditional groceries into modern convenience stores. Convenience Arabia is bringing Circle K to the region with the aim to upgrade the traditional grocery store sector and to provide consumers the ultimate experience in convenience store shopping. Alimentation Couche Tard

It’s funny though how times and brands evolve. Warmer weather and certain late 80s songs often turn my thoughts to when I was young. Seeing the “Coming Soon” signs for Circle K brought me right back to days of my youth when I might have frequented such establishments, or maybe it was the Def Leppard on Radio 2 in my headphones which brought me back?! I’m not sure. Either way, there I went, and you are coming along unless you decide to hit “Back” right now. I wouldn’t blame you if you did.

Corn nuts

Corn nuts! 5 Flavors.

My memories of my circle K-like store in Pennington, New Jersey where I went to high school are so different to the fanfare that this new Circle K is receiving here. They are memories stolen by one of the aforementioned, former “creatures of the night:” yours truly. There was nothing distinguished about my Circle K-like quickie mart unless you a connoisseur of corn nuts and beef jerky. On weekends, we met there en masse before or after high school parties to either A.) Find a party B.) Travel together to the party so no one had to go solo if we could find the party. C.) To buy drinks and snacks, or D.) Sometimes we even stopped for gas! It was a destination, and it was all ours. Our parents were all snug in theirs beds or sitting by the phone at 1am wondering where we were, and why didn’t we call–we didn’t have cell phones back then, duh! (Chortles this parent of children who don’t yet leave her sight–YET.)

Twenty years have passed though and, with it, everything has, of course, changed in my life. I have a family. I am a little more mature than I was back then, but not much. I live in Abu Dhabi, and in Abu Dhabi, Circle K is a destination spot once again for me. I will certainly frequent my new, re-branded Circle K, eight floors down. I will probably not make plans or ever hang out there, perse. I will more likely buy a bag of bread, a litre milk or a 6 pack of eggs rather those same quantities of corn nuts, soda or beer. I might, if I am bored, see if they carry exotic, foreign sundries like Cobra Oil and be dually repulsed if I ever do find Toothy Herring in a Can. I will appreciate having a convenience store eight floors down. This is truly a blessing. At the moment, residents have to drive a very short distance and be regularly stopped by the longest lights in the entire world just to go next door, making the trip time-prohibitive unless you are sedated or just really patient by nature.

Now, if they only had a self checkout and bags of ice. Sigh….dare to dream a shopping dream.

Circle K coming our way

The Circle K I Always Wanted. It’s Happening. Finally here!

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