With chandeliers, paintings and Tuscan tile accents, the washrooms at the Sweet Market Esso in Gasoline Alley are far from the usual gas station bathrooms.
Their elegance has catapulted the Red Deer County gas station/candy shop into the finalists’ category for the 2021 Canada’s Best Restroom Contest, sponsored by Cintas, as U.S. cleaning supply company.
Other washrooms that made the top 5 list are at the Toronto Zoo, Calgary’s The Rooftop Restaurant, Edmonton’s Borden Park, and Surrey Park in B.C.
“We’re a gas station and here we are completing against hotels, parks and zoos,” said Tim Anderson, manager of the Sweet Market Esso on Leva Avenue.
He isn’t surprised, however, as customers are constantly remarking on the beauty of his station’s facilities.
The bathrooms also feature gold-framed mirrors, granite counter tops, brick accent walls, and tiles imported from Italy. Special touches include the all-in-one taps/soap dispensers/hand driers, said Anderson.
And the handicapped stall features a special glass door that’s transparent when no one is occupying the cubicle. But as soon as someone enters, the glass “frosts” over for privacy, he added.
The washrooms were created by the gas station’s owner, Glen Hommy. He and his wife had taken a lot of road trips and were turned off by the sorry state of most gas-station bathrooms. When they built their own service stations, they were determined to make the restrooms extra nice, said Anderson.
He believes classy look of the Sweet Market Esso’s facilities, and the constant cleaning, has deterred people from adding graffiti.
Rhonda Faust, a cashier at the gas station, said some customers have specifically come in to use the washrooms.
“It’s a princess bathroom. A lady and her daughter came in recently and the little girl said, ‘This is the best bathroom ever,’” with a stepping stool so she could reach the sink.
According to Cintas, the Sweet Market Esso bathroom is a finalist because of its “grandeur,” and “five-star finishes… mimicking a fancy hotel suite in Italy rather than a convenience store restroom.
“These washrooms are always a topic of customer conversation…where selfies take centre stage.”
The public can vote for their favourite bathrooms of the five finalists until July 9 at bestrestroom.com/Canada. The winner receives bragging rights and $2,500 of supplies to help keep its facilities clean.