Get gas, stay a while: I take my mobile journalism skills to a York County convenience store

This was my office on  a recent Thursday. That’s my iPad with 3G, a bluetooth keyboard and, most importantly, a cup of Rutter’s’ AMAZING hazelnut creme coffee. Sure beats the beverage options back at the office!

For my ideaLab mobile reporting project, there’s always the usual hangouts.

You’ve got the library. Coffee shops. Central Market.

But that’s where normal people go. And I’m anything but.

So, I set out in search of characters.

And what better place to find York County personalities than a turnstile for weary travelers stopping for a bite to eat or some gas to-go?

Think Rutter’s. They. Are. Everywhere — more than 50 places in Central Pennsylvania, to be exact.

So, after touching base with Alex Henry, communications manager extraordinaire  for Rutter’s Farm Stores, I got permission to loiter at a few of the York County-based chain’s more than 50 convenience stores.

I had stopped by the Rutter’s in Jacobus once before, but couldn’t stay very long.

Last week, I stayed from 9 a.m. until noon. I created this Cover It Live chat room embedded in a ydr.com page to ease of communicate with readers unable to stop by.

I also thought it might be a good way to try out the CiL mobile app.

I encouraged people to use the hashtag #boyer101 (It’s a long story.) and those tweets streamed into my chat, where a few people chimed in.

Honestly, the verdict’s still out on whether this worked or not.)

At the time of my visit, Rutter’s was hiring for its newest store in Loganville — its largest location yet.

That’s how I met these folks: Madison Bowe, 17, and Alex Firth, 23. Both had compelling reasons to be on the job hunt.

You can read about them in this YDR business blog post.

Oh, and in other news, I also publicized my location by tweet. (I know, I know. You’re shocked.)

You can read those by clicking here.

There are a few other Rutter’s stores I plan on hitting up in the near future. Stay tuned!

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