Company News

Open & Shut: 7-17-2009

Around the U.S. in c-store, gas station, truckstop openings, closings, sales, more

OAK BROOK, Ill. -- CSP Daily News again offers this update on a selection of the many new-store groundbreakings, raze and rebuilds, openings, reopenings, rebrandings, closures and sales announced around the country by chains small, medium and large, which have not otherwise been reported on a day-to-day basis.

This recurring feature provides an occasional snapshot of the ever-fluid retail marketplace that includes such outlets as convenience stores, gas stations, truckstops, travel centers and related locations.


The rebuilt [image-nocss] Dateland Travel Center in Yuma is a 9,000-sq.-ft. building that includes a Quiznos, an ice cream corner featuring date shakes and an expanded gift and date shop, said The Yuma Sun. The dates are grown on the property. The rebuilt travel center has a new Texaco station with biodiesel, E85 and racing fuels for dune buggies as well as the regular fuel products. The ladies' rest room has white porcelain wash bowls set in granite with oval mirrors. The doors to the toilets are ivory. The men's has washbowls and mirrors set in wood. Privacy doors are of rustic wood. For people traveling with pets, there are chain-link, mist-cooled enclosures outside. There is no fee, but travelers must pay a refundable $10 for a lock and key. (Click here for a slideshow.)


Jim Hardwick is opening a c-store with a deli or yogurt shop in Fremont, said The Argus. What had been a Shell station until 1998 sat unused for a decade and was a target of graffiti. Under pressure from neighbors, the city and Hardwick signed a deal in 2007 requiring that the minimart be renovated by last October. Hardwick missed several deadlines. He paid $49,000 in city fines, which he said increased the cost of the building project to $500,000.

After 49 years as owner of the 76 station in Monterey, Harry Mucha will be closing his doors for good this year. He told The Monterey County Herald that his place is one of only two stations left on the Peninsula to offer auto service as well as gasoline. "It was a mutual termination," Mucha, 73, said. "The company doesn't stress the importance of customer service like they used to."


A PDQ gas station and c-store in South Boulder has been sold for $1.16 million to a private investment group out of Reno under the 5200 Manhattan Circle LLC name, according to Boulder County public records cited by The Boulder County Business Report. PDQ Food Stores Inc. sold the property, and it is unclear if the brand will remain in operation there.


A BP station in Cheshire has officially reopened for business more than a year after a major fuel leak forced the facility to shut down, said The Cheshire Herald. The station officially reopened on June 25, according to the store's co-manager Nizar Nadirali, who said initially only regular gasoline was available. A year after the leak, the station's parking area has been repaved, the inside of the store has been remodeled, and the front of the station has been cleaned.


Savannah Stop in Lewes opened in mid-March, said The Cape Gazette. Owner Karen Gibbons said she decided to reopen the gas station/c-store, which closed in December 2007, because the location works. She said the store's Sunoco gasoline is available around-the-clock and she has a pending application to sell Delaware Lottery tickets. She also plans to sell fried chicken, which would be available for early morning takeout.


Roy Anderson's service station in Rhine closed in mid-June, reported The Telegraph. The old station had benches outside the door where men would sit and talk about baseball and fishing and compare rain gauges. The soda machine dispensed the coldest Coca-Colas in all of south Dodge County, but only in bottles. Anderson sold his last drop of gasoline a few weeks before.

New Hampshire

Phil Pellerin recently reopened a downtown c-store in Wilton that had closed a few months ago, reported The Cabinet. The store is now called Phil's Market. The store opens at 5:30 a.m. and offers coffee and snacks, and will soon add breakfast sandwiches. Lunch will offer homemade salads, marinated meats, deli sandwiches and soups. It now has the daily newspapers and will soon add lottery.


Chuck Rose and Julie Rose, the owners of Rose General Stores, said their location will be expanded to provide gasoline and diesel services. They told WJBD Radio that after Iuka's two stations were closed by the state fire marshal a few months ago, residents asked about the possibility of installing gasoline pumps. The village of Iuka also approached him. Rose said construction should begin in the next few weeks and will take about 90 days. There will also be an acre of parking for larger trucks and vehicles.

The sign at Randy Whitmore's gas station in Wadsworth says "Adios Chavez." Whitmore switched from the CITGO brand to Shell on June 23, said The Lake County News-Sun. "For two years, we tried to go from CITGO to Shell, and because of a contract, we couldn't do it," he said. He said he was fuming in September 2006 when Chavez blasted the United States and likened then-President Bush to the devil. "The next day, our business was down 50%," said Whitmore. Chavez "killed the Citgo image. We are anti-socialism, and that's what Chavez espouses, socialism." Whitmore's station was a CITGO for eight years, and before that it was a Shell.


The Shell station and c-store in Winfield, owned and operated by Independence-based Crescent Oil, closed in early June, reported NewsCow. Crescent filed bankruptcy earlier this year, causing issues with fuel deliveries and credit and debit card acceptance. Crescent had operated the Shell store off on and in August 2007 took back operations from an operator who had been leasing the store.

The Shell Food Mart in Emporia has closed because of owner Crescent Oil's bankruptcy, said The Emporia Gazette. The Greyhound bus stop at the station has also closed.

New gasoline and diesel dispensers are pumping fuel at the Lawrence Service Area along the Kansas Turnpike, said The Lawrence Journal-World. The new EZ Go pumps went into service last week, the Kansas Turnpike Authority said. EZ Go closed its c-store and pumps January 12 for a $3.7 million project to replace the tanks, add more pumps and replace the c-store. The new store is nearly triple the size of the old one and includes more features and bathrooms. Carey Johnson Oil Co. Inc., owner of EZ Go, financed most of the project. The number of fueling stations went from eight to 24, and the station has expanded from two grades of fuel to four, including E85. Truckers can use a separate, six-lane area equipped with ultra-high-flow diesel. The new pumps also have card readers.

Construction was scheduled to begin earlier this month on a new Dillon Fuel Center at a Dillons supermarket in Wichita, reported The Wichita Eagle. It will have five fuel pumps as well as a service kiosk that sells things like cigarettes, newspapers, lottery tickets and candy bars. There also will be vending machines. The fuel center will allow customers to redeem Dillons' fuel-saver rewards.


The owner of Dad's Place c-store in Norway has shut the doors, said The Sub-Journal. "I just can't make it financially go," Linda Larrivee told the paper. She said she was losing $2,000 to $3,000 a week when she leased the store nine months ago. "I truly believe the little guy just can't succeed anymore. The chain stores can get through the hard times," she said. Larrivee said Hostess refused to deliver products because Dad's Place was not selling enough, so she was forced to drive to Auburn each week to buy the snack cakes. Cigarettes had to be paid upfront for $10,000 a week, and some suppliers would only deal with her on a cash basis, she said. "Enough is enough," she said.


A gas station and c-store in Hereford that sold contaminated gasoline in May and June will be closed all summer, reported The North County News. Crews hired by ExxonMobil put plywood over the windows on July 2, said Patrick Meadowcroft, who runs the station. He had kept the c-store open since the fuel pumps were removed on June 9. He said he was told by ExxonMobil to expect a September 1 reopening. The Maryland's Department of the Environment will oversee work that includes digging up the 20,000-gallon gasoline storage tanks and replacing them, Herb Meade, administrator of MDE's oil control program, told the paper.


Christy's of Cape Cod opened its newest store at the downtown rotary in Chatham in early July, reported The Cape Cod Chronicle. Workers completed the renovation of the former Chatham Mobil property in record time, completely gutting and rebuilding the interior, installing new siding and demolishing the section of the canopy that connected it to the building in about a month.


VG's Grocery and Spartan Stores announced plans to add an 1,100-sq.-ft. gas station and c-store to the VG's location in Howell Township. Construction was scheduled to begin in early June with completion anticipated in approximately 45 days. This is the first fuel center for VG's. The company has plans to add additional fuel center at other VG's locations, it told The Livingston County Daily Press & Argus.

The Meijer Inc. store in Norton Shores opened a gas station last week, reported The Muskegon Chronicle. The station and c-store will be open 24 hours a day, along with the main Meijer store. The station has 10 pumps.

Glen's Market opened a new supermarket in Manistee this week, said WKLA-TV. The location features a supermarket, driveup pharmacy and gas station.


Juba's Super Valu in Blue Earth has decided to add a c-store and gas station, reported KEYC-TV. owner Tom Juba said, "We're the only grocery store in Blue Earth, but we have Wal-Mart, two Dollar Stores and three c-stores. Everybody sells groceries now, so we have to get something else to draw people to our store. Food is not longer a unique thing."


Springfield's second Sam's Club is set to open July 23, but the 12-pump gas station and carwash at Sam's is already open, said The News-Leader. The carwash at the fuel station offers a number of sustainable features to reduce energy and water consumption and minimize waste. The cleaning products used during a carwash are nontoxic and free from harmful substances, and all of the cleaning product containers are recycled. The lighting in the carwash is also environmentally friendly, as the induction fixtures reduce the lighting energy consumption by more than 50% compared to standard fixtures.


Construction began on the Big Wheel Casino & Truck Stop along U.S. I-80 in Fernley in early May, Paul Morabito, president of the Reno-based developer Big Wheel Properties LLC, told the Associated Press. The 20,000-sq.-ft. building covering seven acres will feature a casino, trucker's service area, bar, c-store and a travel center with Texaco-branded retail gasoline. The developers also are trying to secure a franchise for an International House of Pancakes restaurant in the building.

New York

Pilot Travel Centers said in May that it is building a gas station, restaurant and truckstop near Moreau. WNYT-TV said the $6 million travel center will be developed on 10 acres of a 20-acre parcel. It includes a 10,000-sq.-ft. building to house a McDonald's, a c-store, a game room, restrooms, showers and laundry. The facility will also include gasoline and diesel fueling stations and separate parking for trucks and passenger vehicles. The Knoxville, Tenn.-based company declined to disclose financial terms of the deal.


Altair Development and Valley Ventures announced that a $1.5 million Kwik King gas station and c-store will be built in Weirton at the Village at Colliers Way. Kwik King Owner John Riley told WTOV-TV, "It's a no-brainer for us. We're in Toronto, Wintersville, Wellsville, East Liverpool, Follansbee and Steubenville. So geographically, this makes perfect sense for us to expand to Weirton."

Tina Williams had leased a BP station in Coshocton for a little more than a year when the doors were closed July 1. She told The Coshocton Times that hard economic times and the slow sale of the food mart portion of the business made it difficult to pay three full-time and a part-time employee, plus other bills. "We weren't selling enough of the items inside to keep it going," Williams said. She said she is uncertain whether the business will be reopened with another owner.

The new Hanover Pit Stop opened in Mid-July, the Newark Advocate said. To celebrate, new owner Carl Hains gave away $10 and $50 gift cards for the Gulf station. It also has a c-store that soon will have hot dogs and hot sandwiches such as shredded chicken or pork. It also offers Donald's Donuts. In addition to gasoline, the station also carries off-road diesel fuel for use on farms in tractors and combines.

A handwritten sign on the entrance doors of a BP station in Kettering says that the store is closed, reported The Dayton Daily News. The fuel prices were also removed from the station's signs in early July.

Waterway Gas & Wash plans to replace the BP gas station in Pepper Pike with a car wash and gas station featuring personal greeters, said The Chagrin Herald Sun. Waterway, St. Louis, owns and operates 18 full-service car wash and gasoline stations in upscale communities in St. Louis, Kansas City, Denver and Greater Cleveland. Company chairman Henry Dubinsky said the project represents a total investment of more than $5 million. It will continue to sell BP gasoline at five pumps under a canopy at the front of the property. The automated indoor car wash and waiting area, 2,100-sq.-ft. c-store and outdoor patio will be located to the rear.


Jim Gnagey of Gnagey Gas & Oil Co., Uniontown, recently opened Sycamore Arby's & Sunoco, reported The The Herald-Standard. The development features the first Arby's in more than two decades to open in the area as well as a full-service c-store and 16-pump gas station. Bob McLuckey, general manager for JG Food Service and JG Service Stations, which run the operation, said so far "business has been about three times more than our expectations." McLuckey, who said the development represents a $3 million investment, added that the JG's c-store offers an ATM and a variety of foods and products as well as pastries from Young's Bakery and Yum Yum Donuts. Cold cases contain different foods and beverages. The business employs about 60 people. Gnagey said he also plans to open a fleet fuel station on site.

South Dakota

A Black Hills area business cooperative changed its name July 1 but not its products. The former Cenex of the Black Hills cooperative, which operated as Cenex Oil Co., is now CBH Cooperative, said The Rapid City Journal. General manager Jeff Dragseth said the new name reflects the individuality of the member-owned operation, which also sells agriculture and livestock-handling products, and has a tire center. The co-op will continue to sell Cenex petroleum products, owned nationally by CHS Inc. The new CBH signs will appear at operations in Belle Fourche, Sturgis, Union Center, Hot Springs and Rapid City. The CBH Cooperative is based in Sturgis.


Max Arnold told The Jackson Sun that construction on his new c-store and gas station in Columbus should begin before the end of July and should be completed by Thanksgiving. The 3,600-sq.-ft. store will sit on about 1.2 acres and have 21 parking spaces. There will be four fuel islands that will sell branded gasoline. The brand of gas had not been chosen. Arnold's c-store will sell gourmet coffees, Krispy Kreme doughnuts, sodas, hot dogs and other microwavable food, but no beer or lottery tickets. Arnold won't sell lottery tickets because he said doing so slows customer service and aggravates those waiting in line. He decided not to sell beer because of his religious beliefs and family values. He said marketing studies show the store will succeed without those sales.


C-Mart, a University of Texas c-store has closed its doors permanently, said The Daily Texan. In their place will stand a renovated Wag-A-Bag, a self-proclaimed "neighborhood convenience store" with 17 Central Texas locations. The owner said he expects the new store to open by late September. The property is owned by Tex-Con Oil, a Central Texas fuel and lubricants distributor. At the beginning of summer, the company gave notice to C-Mart would not be allowed to renew their leases. Cary Rabb, co-owner of Wag-A-Bag, described the interior of the former C-Mart building as a "complete dump" and said Wag-A-Bag will expand. The renovated location is expected to have a walk-in beer cave with expanded grocery lines, shelving and cooler space.


7-Eleven Inc. celebrated the grand opening of its newest Gloucester-area store in early July, said The Daily Press. It is managed by local resident Steven Catch.

Send your store openings and related announcements to Greg Lindenberg.

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