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DANBURY, Conn. -- Things got sweet at a local Wheels CITGO last month as the convenience store become the launch pad for one local student's invention.
On July 19, CITGO marketer Consumers Petroleum and its Wheels Convenience Stores hosted a Customer Appreciation Event, which also kicked off the sale of Kandy bandZ, a washable, refillable candy wristband invented by Danbury Elementary Schools student Samantha Sperrazza.
"I came up with the idea for Kandy bandZ for a school project, and my parents helped me figure out how to make it out of safe stuff so that kids could wear them," she said. "Selling my wristbands at the Wheels CITGO is so cool. When I grow up, I want to be a famous scientist."
Eight-year-old Sperrazza merged her love for fashion and candy to create Kandy bandZ as part of the Connecticut Invention Convention (CIC), a nationwide children's invention competition. Following the local competition, she was invited to present her invention at the state finals and won a Whole Foods Sponsor Award at the event, hosted at the University of Connecticut.
"CITGO and our network of marketers and retailers support local businesses and social investment," said Rafael Gomez, CITGO Petroleum Corp. vice president of government and public affairs. "By supporting Sperrazza's invention and incorporating her product into Consumers Petroleum's Danbury Wheels CITGO offerings, we are maintaining our commitment to helping inspired students and dedicated families succeed in their endeavors."
The Danbury Wheels CITGO, currently the only CITGO location selling Kandy bandZ, sold 68 wristbands during the July event. The Sperrazza family is currently applying for patents as they grow the business.
"Wheels is a fixture in many of the neighborhoods where we operate and we thrive because the local community continues to come to our stores, so it's only natural for us to support our loyal customers, too," said Gina Nero, Wheels Convenience Stores marketing manager. "Being able to offer the venue for Samantha to sell her wristbands meant a lot to us and to her and her family. It is part of what separates us from the pack as just another convenience store."
Consumers Petroleum is a family-owned and -operated gasoline distributorship that sells branded gasoline to customers in Connecticut, New York, Massachusetts and Rhode Island.