Project Open Hand, A Giving Experience

 As interns at RaceTrac, we decided to participate in a volunteer event at Project Open Hand, a charity that provides meals to persons with disabilities.  Arriving early on a Saturday morning, none of us knew what to expect out of this experience.  We were quickly shuffled into a meeting room where we had to sign liability waivers, and were shown a video on the charity.  Having an idea of what we were now getting into, it was time to suit up!  Project Open Hand really goes above and beyond when it comes to food safety.  I know what you’re thinking, hairnet right?  WRONG!  They decked me out in full food safety garb, that’s right, beard net, apron, and arm hair sleeves. I seriously looked like a hazmat operator/Santa Clause. 

After suiting up, we went into the kitchen where it was time to commence working.  To be honest it was actually a very efficient operation.  I was impressed with how many people lend their time to this organization that is dedicated to helping other people.  They were appreciative of the help that everyone was able to offer and they were dedicated to their cause.  Project open Hand delivers 4,000 meals a day in the Atlanta Area and being a part of this process gave me a greater appreciation for what they actually do.  Project Open Hand is responsible for helping many people in the area and they do it all out of their willingness to help others.  This was a great experience for me and opened my eyes to all the good that Project Open Hand does in the community.  I want to take the time to thank RaceTrac for organizing this event and allowing me to be a part of it. 

-Rachel Beauchamp, RaceTrac Intern

The Perfect Formula for Summer Fitness; Part 4, Friends

FRIENDS: As an intern living at home, I have quickly learned that there is nothing more valuable than friends. While nothing beats a wholesome and lighthearted family dinner, a surplus of family time tends to call for some friendship bonding, especially when Monday night dinners include the crazy cat lady from next door. Unlike the Friends cast, I do not have a regular hotspot hangout, like The Central Perk, so, if I want to hang out with my gal pals, like Rachel Greene and Phoebe Buffay, I must arrange plans.

Typical plans involve preliminary searches of’s latest restaurant ratings or how many thumbs up Ebert and Roeper gave Owen Wilson’s recent comedy. Very rarely do my activity suggestions include sports, unless of course  it involves cheering at a Brave’s Game or jumping in the pool for a quick swim, after a day of tanning.

However, there is a great way to get involved in sports and still fulfill my summer plans of soaking up the sun with friends by my side. By joining a local sports league, I have the ability to get a great exercise outdoors and still find out all the latest makeups and breakups in my gal pal group. As an added bonus, I have the opportunity to make more friends through a sports league, so that the next time my dad does something embarrassing at a family function; I have a larger group to text blast.

No matter one’s age or physical acumen, sports can certainly make your life healthier and happier. Aside from health benefits, sports can also improve talents in the work place. By polishing one’s hand-eye coordination, teamwork and sportsmanship, sports can produce valuable skills that can be enforced and implemented into daily tasks at the office. Not to mention, sports easily reduces stress to clear one’s mind. And of course, as always, sports are an excellent exercise. They are good for your heart, muscles and even your breathing!

These leagues are just as easy to find as movie show times! Using a multitude of sports league websites, interested individuals can seek out these opportunities and get involved! So, next time that crazy cat lady neighbor of yours comes over for a Monday night dinner, you can easily say, “While I’d love to stay and talk about fur balls and pet food, I have to meet up with some friends for a recreational kickball game!”

Summer Kisses,
The Brand Management Intern, Ariel

Moving back with parents after college

At the end of my high school days, it was time to get out of the house. I had already started to develop some independent habits for myself. It was time to take these habits and form a lifestyle in college. While in college, I was able to learn how to balance my newfound freedom with discipline. However, when it came to moving back into my parent’s house after college, I didn’t know what to expect as far as freedom goes. I am used to having things done my way, all the time. So I was very nervous and anxious to get back to life at home. Overall, it has been a fantastic experience. Here are the three best things and three worst things about living with my parents again:

1. Chores- So now that I am home I am responsible for one thing only: My room. When I was at school, I was responsible for a room, a hallway, a staircase, a living room, dining room, and kitchen. Now, as long as I keep my room clean, my daily chores are done.
2. Money-I get to make my own money working every day, and not spend them on the day to day normal expenses of life. These expenses are paid by my parents and they include food, laundry detergent, fuel (@ RaceTrac of course), and many more. Not to mention rent and utilities.
3. House life- Being back in a house is an awesome. I loved apartment life, but at the end of the day there wasn’t enough room for all the things I wanted to do. Not to mention it’s my parent’s house with the stuff I grew up with in every room (sentimental value is so underrated).

1. Chores- The best part is also the worst part. With a house five times bigger than my apartment, cleaning is a weekly activity rather than a daily run-through. If I am home on a Saturday, I am guilted into doing yard work, something I haven’t done since high school. Once or twice a week, I am in a kitchen cleaning dishes four people ate on, rather than one. I don’t have to do these things, but if I didn’t, I would be a bad housemate.
2. Food- Beggars can’t be choosers- I get that. But I like food my way. I eat pretty healthy, so when my dad cooks, he says “you can have it two ways, my way or none at all.” And he cooks whatever taste good so sometimes I go without, sometimes I eat unhealthy food. Either way I’m unhappy.
3. TV- Now that I am back home, after dinner we all sit around the living room and watch TV. There are usually four people in the room. If I am living in college, I am watching the Braves every night. But I don’t always get my way living with four people. I would rather sit in the living room with my family watching Dancing with the Stars than alone watching the Braves. A lose-lose situation.

A Bulldog becomes a RaceTrac Intern

When I walked into RaceTrac for the first time I had no clue what to expect. Within two weeks of the All Stars Summer Internship program I found myself fully immersed in the company culture and surrounded with a helpful family of coworkers. Each intern balances their normal project workload from their specific department as well as a cross departmental group project. The project is a great way to be exposed to all levels of employees from across the company as you work towards solving a challenge that affects the entire company. This summer I worked with a team of five interns, each from a different discipline, on a project entitled marketing to millennials. We started with a broad project scope and quickly narrowed the scope to targeting college students with a college football themed promotion.

While I spent 20% of the internship meeting with my group to develop our project, I spent the majority of my time in the HR department as a recruitment intern. I arrived at RaceTrac with no idea of how a successful Human Resources department operates or what it meant to recruit. One of my fellow recruiters became my mentor and taught me every part of the recruitment process from the ground up. I shadowed her, read insightful articles, and was quickly assigned my first group of positions to fill. Joining and being welcomed by my recruitment team with such openness and eagerness for my development was an invaluable gift. Not only have I received extensive interviewing and hiring process training, but I have developed into a young HR professional.

My biggest success over the course of the summer was when I made my first job offer to a candidate. It was extremely exciting to build a relationship with a candidate, become their advocate within RaceTrac, and extend them an opportunity to join and bring strength to our team. I would recommend the RaceTrac summer internship to all college students considering the program is well planned including valuable face time with the entire executive team, a strong mentorship element, as well as an opportunity for ownership of significant work in each intern’s department. While many of my peers from UGA toiled over filing papers and filling coffee orders for their boss, I excelled during the RaceTrac Internship and gained invaluable real work experience.


RaceTrac’s College Colors: Florida Edition

This post comes from Lauren in our Marketing Department

When I was 16, I did the obligatory “tour of colleges” with my  parents.   We checked out some “Ivies of the South”, ACC schools, other SEC schools and Florida.   Florida was the last stop on our tour and by the time I got back in the car, I knew that I wanted to be a Florida Gator.

Gainesville and the University of Florida have a great laid back, yet unique charm.  A freshman can find the comforts of home (it’s a chain restaurant mecca) as well as explore some great local places and traditions.   Here are the top five reasons why it’s great to be a Florida Gator.

#5:  Fashion – for once and for all – GATORS DO NOT WEAR JEAN SHORTS!  Just had to get that off my chest.  But there is a laid back fashion sense in Gainesville that doesn’t necessarily include pearls to football games.

#4: World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party – Not sure if we are allowed to call it that anymore, but the annual faceoff between Florida and Georgia is one of the best traditions at UF.   For the last decade, it has definitely been great to be a Florida Gator that weekend….Florida holds an 8-2 advantage.

#3: Weather – How many schools can tan between classes?  Before I was worried about skin cancer and wrinkles, I used to love to lay out at “Broward Beach” and do homework between classes.   You can do this about 9 months out of the year.

#2:  Education – As an adult in the working world, I am very proud of my degree from the University of Florida.   According to US News and World Reports, UF is the 15th best public university in the country.  The average freshman had over a 4.0 GPA in high school!  I am not sure I would even get in if I had to apply now….

#1: Sports Excellence – Many people are aware of the championships and excellence in recent years from the football team and men’s basketball team, sports excellence runs deep at the University of Florida.  2009 marked the Gators’ twenty-sixth consecutive year among the nation’s top ten best overall collegiate athletic programs.  No other Division I athletic program has matched that feat, and Florida has achieved this record while fielding fewer sports teams than many of the other perennial top collegiate athletic programs.   In 2010, the Gators won National Championships in Men’s Indoor Track and Field and Women’s Swimming and Diving.    Go Gators!

Whether we are winning or losing, it’s great to be a Florida Gator.   The last few Saturdays have been tough for Gator fans, but  “In all kinds of weather, we all stick together for F-L-O-R-I-D-A!”

RaceTrac’s College Colors: Clemson Edition

Today’s guest entry comes from Dayna in our Marketing department.

I can’t say that I was one of those people who always knew where they wanted to go to college.  Although I grew up 10 minutes from Clemson University and my mom and aunt have both worked for Clemson for years, I was never sure what path I would take.

My path became very clear when I began applying for colleges as a high school senior.  I quickly realized that I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life in debt, just to attend Wake Forest.  I told my parents that I would attend Clemson on one condition –I could live on campus.  Luckily, I had enough scholarships to make this a possibility and my parents let me spread my wings.

As a freshman, I remember walking briskly to class one morning and thinking – “WOW, I really like this place”.  The freedom of being in college, the picturesque campus, friendly students and teachers, I was on a HIGH!  My parents were only a few miles down the road, but they seemed liked worlds away!  I had the freedom of being away from home, but the comfort of knowing that if I needed anything, they were close by.

So why doth my blood runneth orange?  I think most people would say the football games, and there is something exciting about joining 80K other people decked out in orange and white to cheer on a group of guys about to run down “the Hill” into Death Valley.  But I would say my love for Clemson is partly due to the sports teams, but more so about the people and setting.

There is something peaceful and serene about the way Lake Hartwell borders this sleepy college town, that erupts into fervor and all out pandemonium on game days!  With 16,000 undergraduate students, Clemson provides the perfect balance for new students.  You have the choice of getting lost in large class sizes as a freshman, but the one-on-one intimacy of 20 person English classes.  People on campus always refer to the “Clemson family” and it’s so true.  Although I left my real family for college, I joined a bigger family who likes to wear a lot of orange and have a pre-game beer at the Esso.

Clemson ended up being the perfect place for me.  I was able to study abroad and see some of the world, I was able to make lifelong friends and get a great education at a reasonable price.  Probably the best part of being a Clemson tiger is going back occasionally and feeling like I’m going back home, the people are just as nice and the crowd is just as boisterous as I remember!

RaceTrac’s College Colors: Georgia Edition

Today’s blog comes from Matt in our Category Management department.

Even though it’s been four years, I remember it all like it was yesterday. I don’t know how we did it, but we did – waking up at 6am on those fall Saturdays to get to our tailgate site bright and early. Morning chill in the air, dew on the grass, and the constant, yet subtle, thump of bean bags landing on cornhole boards echoing in the distance…this was Athens, Georgia. Perhaps one of my fondest memories wasn’t a big win between the hedges, but something that happened before the game. Though the stadium was always filled to capacity – unlike that other school in Atlanta – nothing could beat the eerie silence that overcame the crowd as they eagerly anticipated the trumpet solo from the Battle Hymn.
Surely, it is no surprise that a UGA alumnus (or anyone from a SEC school) will mention the rich football tradition as one of their most favorable experiences in college, but what separates UGA from the rest? Honestly, there are too many items to list…but, I have selected my top 3.

#3 Dining Halls — I’m not going to lie, I love to eat. My closest friends will tell you that I’m always looking for a “Man vs. Food” challenge. That being said, the UGA Meal Plan and Dining Halls come in my list at #3. Let’s be honest, who really has the time or energy to cook a great meal in the dorms? It’s every college students dream to have access to any type of food at any hour of the day or night at their fingertips. You heard right, some of the dining halls are open 24 hours a day. I could probably write a blog ranking the dining halls (Snelling, ECV, O-House, and Bolton), but I will save that for another time. The food quality is great…most of the food is made-to-order and there is no shortage of selection. No matter what, the dreaded “Freshman 15” is inevitable. A word of advice, if you stay on the meal plan for 4 years, like I did, be sure to visit the Ramsey Center for a workout every now and again.

#2 Night Life – For the fellow Bulldogs out there, this may be shocking that this isn’t rated #1, especially after the recent Princeton Review release as UGA as the top party school in the nation, but I wanted to mix it up a little. If you disagree with me…so be it. You can write your own blog and come up with your “Top 3” list. Regardless, Night Life will remain at #2. Athens is unique in that it is truly a college town. Interesting enough, it is really the student body that runs downtown Athens – not the locals. However, the locals don’t mind, and in fact love it. There really is something for everyone in Athens –music, art, shopping, and of course…bars. For those of age, Athens has 100+ bars that serve great, inexpensive adult beverages.

#1 Future Opportunity — And at #1, I have to go with the great opportunities UGA has to offer. Every time I return to my alma mater there is new construction on campus. This is a great sign, and ensures me that the school is still thriving. It is within these facilities that UGA students learn the skills that will help them succeed later in life.

It’s great…to be…a Georgia Bulldog.

RaceTrac’s College Colors: Georgia Tech Edition

We asked a bunch of people around our Store Support Center to write odes to their alma maters. This is the first in a series of many devoted to those teams who encourage us to wake up at the crack of dawn to celebrate their athletic prowess on fall Saturdays. The first comes from Will in our IT department:

Why it is great to be a GT Yellow Jacket?
A proud sense of accomplishment comes with being a GT Yellow Jacket. From the time your orientation instructor lets you know that 1/3 of the people in the room will not graduate to the professor who lets you know that you may have chosen the wrong school, Georgia Tech can definitely be something that you can love to hate. However, the pride that comes with enduring the grind of Georgia Tech is seldom matched. Whether the topic is academics or sports, being a part of Georgia Tech means being a part of something rich in tradition and history. Founded in 1885, Georgia Tech is routinely rated one of the best academic schools in the nation by US News. As for sports relevance, the Heisman Trophy, which is awarded to the football player voted the best in the nation, was named after John Heisman, who coach at Georgia Tech from 1904-1922. The atmosphere of Georgia Tech is great too. Georgia Tech is uniquely located in heart of Atlanta, one of the largest cities in the US. Georgia Tech’s campus is the perfect blend of modern and historic facilities. Georgia Tech sets up well for its students to work hard and play hard…which is why it is great to by a Yellow Jacket.

The SEC Championship Recap: A Gator Fan Speaks or, “You Can’t Win Them All”

I have been a Gator since birth and UF was the only permissible option I had for college, so needless to say, this weekend was a difficult one for me.

After riding on MARTA like sardines in a can, we stepped out to bear the arctic Atlanta Saturday.  Following all of the other unprepared-for-winter, non-jort-wearing Floridians into the appropriately named Orange Lot, I could feel the excitement, optimism, and frost bite in the air. Once we settled at our tailgate and prepared for the long day ahead, we caught up with old friends and haggled with local artists selling shirtless Tim Tebow sketches.

As game time quickly approached, the group of us who wisely chose not to take out a second mortgage to buy tickets made our way through the sea of houndstooth to the CNN center, landing in front of three giant flat screens for what promised to be one of the most exciting games in a long time.  I wish I could say the next four hours were a blur, but unfortunately, I remember every gut wrenching minute. Between screaming for Tebow to get rid of the ball and ever-so-kindly teaching the “Alabama fan” behind me how to pronounce their quarterback’s name, there was no question I would be hoarse at work on Monday morning.  Yet my voice and Tebow’s pride weren’t the only thing that suffered that day.  I tried to call my mom to vent about the game, but rest in peace, Mom’s little flip phone, we hardly knew ye.  A 75-mph meeting with the wall took you from us too soon.

Now I guess I understand the saying “you can’t win them all.” I have to remind my spoiled self that I can’t be too disappointed this year because I was fortunate enough to witness four national championships during my college career. And hey, Bourbon Street on New Year’s Eve doesn’t sound like such a bad idea after all. As I avoid all of the scrutiny and bad mouthing at work this week, I’m going to get to the drawing board to create a clothing pattern that we Gators can claim as our own. I might even order one of those vials of Tebow’s tears off eBay (I hear that stuff can cure the incurable).

It still is and always will be great to be a Florida Gator!

SEC Championship Recap: Roll Tide!

My first thought when I woke up: Man I hope Tebow cries tonight!

I didn’t realize that this game was set to be played in the arctic.  Facing 30 degree temperatures (with snow!) and 15 mph winds, all I could think about was keeping warm when our tailgate started.  After pitching our tent about four times (thanks to the aforementioned wind), we were finally able to settle in.  Over the far-off roar of Game Day celebrations starting around 10am, we began drinking our breakfast, mingling with jean-short-wearers and houndstooth-sporters alike next to the CNN center.   This continued for a few hours, until Bama was picked to win.

It was at that time that the sun came out, and I knew that we were headed for victory.  The burgers and beverages continued until about 3, and then fans started flowing into the game like lemmings.  Whether you were rooting for the right team or the other team, there was a distinct buzz in the air.  Whether it was the static electricity from Florida Fans’ Jorts swishing as they walked, or raw talent from Tuscaloosa filling the dome, I couldn’t tell you.  But, everyone was so excited to see what promised to be one of the greatest games in recent history.

Every seat in the house quickly filled up with a block of blue and orange taking over half the stadium, and the other (better) half wrapped in a sea of crimson.   Everyone was jumping, yelling, and there was enough electricity from the football faithful that the power in the dome could have gone out for hours but the lights would’ve stayed on.   After kickoff, the contest was less about who could score the most points, but who could be loudest when the opposing team had the ball.  Judging from my inability to speak today, I’d say we won that contest just as handily as we did the game.

Halfway through the quarter, when things were looking up, I didn’t want to make a move.  Glued to my seat, I refused to be the one who jinxed the win by celebrating prematurely.  But that celebration came after the final seconds ticked off the clock and they popped Tebow’s weepy eyes up on the big screen when the stadium, including me, erupted in a roar.  We didn’t let him write that final chapter of his legacy, and it felt good.

My productivity this week has been completely shot as I look for tickets to Pasadena, but I can’t wait to get out there.  I’ve been quietly chanting RammaJamma at my desk and I’m pretty sure the team who sits around me is about to kick me out of the office.  Victory tastes so sweet – first some gator filet, now on to some Grade-A Longhorn steak.

My last thought before I passed out:  I hope ole Timmy is still crying…. WAHAHAHA

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