Discover the Secrets of Rutter’s: 5 Fun Facts about Central Pennsylvania’s Beloved Convenience Store Chain

A Rutter's convenience store in Strasburg, June 2018. (Photo: Shutterstock).

By Patrick Berkery

May 24, 2023

Wawa and Sheetz aren’t the only names in the Pennsylvania convenience store game. York-based Rutter’s has been serving Central Pa. for more than 50 years and has plans to expand statewide.

You’d think Wawa and Sheetz were the only two convenience stores in Pennsylvania the way people carry on about their allegiances to each chain.

Meanwhile, many central Pennsylvanians who are looking to gas up and grab a bite on the go swear by the York-based chain Rutter’s, which opened its first store in the city in 1968 and now has 85 locations (including several in Maryland and West Virginia) and employs 3,000 people.

Earlier this year, Rutter’s announced plans to expand throughout Pennsylvania, with designs on entering Wawa’s territory to the east, and Sheetz’s backyard to the west. Rutter’s is also planning to open stores in Delaware and Virginia over the next few years.

Seeing as there’s a chance you could soon find a Rutter’s in your area no matter where you live in the commonwealth, now is a good time to learn more about the homegrown convenience store chain whose logo looks like it came off an album cover from 1973 (we say that with peace and love) and whose slogan — “Why go anywhere else?” — is as unassuming as the store itself.

Pennsylvania’s Founding Father Plays a Part in the Rutter’s Story

The roots of Rutter’s stretch all the way back to 1683 when German farmer Conrad Rutter and his wife arrived in Philadelphia by boat. The family eventually settled in York County and in 1747, William Penn’s great-grandson (yes, that William Penn) deeded 167 acres of farmland to Conrad’s grandson, Andrew Rutter. That farmland has served as the home base for the Rutter’s dairy operation for 11 generations and counting.

Rutter’s Has Been in the Dairy Business a Long Time

There’s a reason milkshakes are the top-selling beverage at Rutter’s. The family has been in the dairy business a long time and they know what they’re doing when it comes to milk. The Rutter’s milk bottling business began in 1921 when George and Bud Rutter milked 20 cows on the family farm to produce the first 15 quarts of Rutter’s milk. Originally known as Crystal Springs Dairy, the company changed its name in 1933 to Rutter Brothers Dairy. Rutter’s dairy business currently supplies five states in the Mid-Atlantic region. 

Discover the Secrets of Rutter's: 5 Fun Facts about Central Pennsylvania's Beloved Convenience Store Chain
Workers at the Rutter’s dairy plan in the 1960s. (Photo: Rutter’s)

Rutter’s Doesn’t Just Sell Beer, They Also Make It

While Rutter’s sells beer at nearly 60 of its Pennsylvania locations — some stores even feature climate controlled enclaves called Beer Caves — they’ve also collaborated on private-label  beers with Lancaster Brewing Co. The latest collaboration is a citrus ale called Big Berry Attitude that features blueberry and cranberry flavors. In 2021, they collaborated on Chocolate Milk Stout, and in summer 2022, they teamed up for Rutter’s Spiked Tea Cooler. Rutter’s also sells wine and spiked slushies that come in several sizes, including a 128 oz. party bag.

Feeling Lucky? You Can Gamble at Rutter’s

At 23 Rutter’s locations in Pennsylvania, customers will find video gambling terminals, which makes it the largest licensed gambling operator in the state that isn’t a casino, according to the company.

The Rutter’s Menu is Vast, and Ever-Changing 

You’d think you were at a diner with all the menu options available for breakfast, lunch, and dinner at Rutter’s. They have items that are purely Pennsylvania, like the Route 30 Burger, which ranges in size from one to three patties and features two grilled cheese sandwiches for a bun, and mini pierogi. They also offer “LTO” (limited time only) items, which have recently included a Peanut Butter Burger featuring a mix of Reese’s peanut butter and barbecue sauce, a loaded potato pizza, and pulled pork fries.

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