Thornton's is remarkable

A Thornton’s gas station and food mart opened down the street from my house early this summer. From the day it opened, it gave away free 20 oz. fountain drinks and coffee (including Lattes and Mochas).

Until now. Today marks the last day of their grand opening. ‘Tis a sad moment. The free stuff is ending.

The second or third time I visited to pick up my Latte, one of the friendly (unusual for a gas station) workers gave me a box of donuts. For free.

Lessons learned:

1) Giving away free stuff attracts customers who would never visit otherwise. I’d pay at the pump.

2) Giving away free stuff provokes chatter. When was the last time you heard talk about a gas station (other than expensive gas)?

3) Giving away free stuff creates friendly employees because they’re excited about what they’re doing. (Everyone loves giving away coffee and donuts.)

Oh, and let me define what I mean by free stuff here:

Free stuff = stuff people actually want, cool (or in the coffee’s case, hot) stuff… free without any strings attached (no sign in, no “with purchase of”, no “with coupon”, and no “between 2:00 and 3:00 am on Wednesdays”).