Spotting Circle K’s Where They Are No More

Photos by Paho Mann

It’s a natural condition of aging that you start to remember how things used to be. Like when a Milky Way was 30 cents, when the Wizards were the Bullets, when you had to “star 69” to find out who just called you. It’s a natural progression of life, and it makes you feel old.

And if you’re around long enough, you’ll also see the architectural landscape of your town change. Photographer and professor Paho Mann took on that idea with his project, “Re-inhabited Circle Ks.” The Circle K convenience store was once ubiquitous, popping up every few blocks, until the business went in a different direction and focused on corner lots.

Mann sought out the transformed convenience stores all over Phoenix and found a tattoo parlor, a dollar store and a tuxedo shop, among others — all with the same unmistakable architecture. He even used city directories and phone books from the 70s and 80s (remember when people used to use phone books?) to create an interactive map, and to explore “the complex relationship between corporate expansion and the manifestation of individualism.”

You can see a gallery of Mann’s work here.

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