Open & Shut: 3-3-2008

Published in CSP Daily News

CSP Daily News' ongoing digest ofindustryactivity nationwide

OAK BROOK, Ill. -- CSP Daily News offers another installment of Open & Shut, a geographic roundup of many of the convenience store, gas station and travel center openings, closings, sales, remodels, new-builds and groundbreakings in towns large and small across America.

The digest includes primarily smaller, independent marketers and entrepreneurs that don't often make headlines like their larger, more high-profile counterparts. But it also includes some smaller deals and incremental growth and construction among those larger companies.

California

The Saranap Filling Station [image-nocss] in Walnut Creek, with old-fashioned pumps and full-service bays and no pay at the pump, will become a modern Union 76 station, reported The San Jose Mercury News. "I leased it to a new operator," said Paul Borgwardt, who has decided it was no longer cost-effective to run an independent station. "World oil markets have changed. The prices warble up and down, sometimes 10 to 15 cents per gallon per day. There's no way to predict what's going to happen with gasoline and the gasoline industry." He will sell or remove the old pumps to make way for modernization that will do away with four full-service pumps and provide new credit card technology, a c-store, a new auto service center and a full-service car wash.

A new owner has taken over the Riojas Chevron station in Union City. "It's time," retiring current owner Julian Riojas told The Agrus. He has been selling gasoline for more than 50 years.

Colorado

The Wildwood Gas Station & Mini-Market will open along with the Wildwood Casino in Cripple Creek in mid-2008. All three facilities are owned by the American Gaming Group LLC, Cripple Creek.

Florida

John Herig, has put his New Port Richey gas station and garage, Cathedral Automotive Repair Services, up for sale, said The St. Petersburg Times. He will continue to do repair work until the property sells; he turned off the pumps about six months ago. When Herig bought the business in 1977, he got one full-service pump with three grades. He added a second pump and, 10 years ago, self service. Herig bought fuel through Texaco until it pulled out of the deal six years ago; he then switched to the Mystik brand. Repair work subsidized the operation. Gasoline was a losing venture, and for the past three years, the business lost money. Herig said he could not compete with bigger stations; his prices were always higher, and few people today want full-service stations—they want to pay at the pump and leave, he said. "This type of business is changing," said Herig. "The big corporations have siphoned off a lot of business." Herig said he figures no one will buy it as a gas station, but there could be interest in the property because of its prime location. Asking price on the property is $550,000.



Hawaii

Hayaku Gas & Go has seen several improvements, including pay at the pump, since a change in ownership last winter, reported The Molokai Times. The new owners, Lloyd Inouye and Ed Medeiros, began pumping November 1. Plans also include a car wash and a "quick snack kitchen" within the store.

Illinois

The Spring View Family Restaurant in St. Charles has closed its doors, reported The Kane County Chronicle. Owner Angelo Sellas' family bought the restaurantin 1985.They boughtthe Clarkservice stationnext door in 2003. Now they plan to demolish the restaurant and station to redevelop the site to include a gas station and a conveniencestorewithan attached sitdown restaurant.

A new Gas Mart location has opened in Peoria, reported WEEK-TV.

A gas station and c-store opened in Grand Ridge, reported The Times. The station is owned by MKM Oil Inc., Gardner. Although the c-store is open from 4:30 a.m. to 11 p.m., the station offers 24-hour pay at the pump.

Corner FS, a full-service gas station and service shop, has opened in Mansfield. Owner Les Shores said the business will have vehicle service initially, including oil changes, brake repairs, tuneups and general maintenance. Gasoline was not expected to be available until February at the earliest because the underground storage tanks need updating, said The Bloomington Pantagraph. Shores was a regular customer of the business when it was run by John Houser, who retired in 2005 after 28 years.

Kansas

The new Zarco 66 station in Lawrence offers E10 and E85, reported The University Daily Kansan.

Maine

The Shell station and 202 One Stop c-store in East Lebanon closed temporarily in mid-January while the property changes hands, property owner William Martin of Rochester, N.H., told KeepMeCurrent.com. "We had a three-year lease agreement with a tenant with an option to buy," he said. "Then, when his three years was up, he just closed the store." Martin said he has a potential buyer who has "big plans." He said he expected to close on the property in February.

Michigan

Rick's & Nick's Party Store recently opened in Bad Axe, said The Huron Daily Tribune. Rick Hiller, who owns the location with his daughter, Nickole Hiller, said the c-store stocks, liquor, beer and wine and other typical convenience items. It also offers a variety of items on its grill menu, including hot dogs, corn dogs, grilled chicken sandwich, chicken strips, wing dings, BLTs, grilled ham and cheese sandwiches, as well as waffle fries, french fries, nachos, cheese sticks and deep-fried mushrooms. It also has a deli menu with submarine sandwiches and salads. The store offers delivery within one mile for orders of more than $20.

Holland-based Quality Car Wash plans to open a new gas station, car wash, c-store, quick lube and coffee shop with a drive-thru in 2009, manager Mandi Brower told The Holland Sentinel.

Minnesota

St. Cloud-based Coburn's Inc. has decided to close its 11-year old 's Cash Wise Foods grocery store in Austin on March 31. The closure includes the Little Duke's gas station and video store in the same building.

The Hendricks Gas Stop, a landmark full-service gas station in Hendricks, was recently destroyed by fire, reported the Associated Press.

La Crosse, Wis.-based Kwik Trip closed its Kasson location and opened at a new site nearby in late January, reported The Dodge County Independent.

Missouri

Jared Enterprises Inc., Springfield, which operates the Cody's Convenience Stores chain, is building its first travel center, said The Springfield Business Journal. The $1-million, 10,000-sq.-ft. facility will be about twice as big as regular Cody's stores and will feature a truckers' lounge, showers, game room and communications room with phones and Internet-connected computers. It also will have three separate fueling areas—one for cars, one for buses and recreational vehicles and one for tractor-trailers, said CEO and executive vice president Curtis Jared. When the travel center opens, it will be the chain's 37th location. Jared said he also is opening a newly constructed c-store in March and plans to close in March on 10 store acquisitions at undisclosed locations in southwest Missouri.

A Taylor truck stop the site of the 18 Wheeler at U.S. 24 and Mo. 6 will be getting a complete makeover since being purchased by Warrenton Oil Co., said The Quincy Herald Whig. Operations will move into their new facilities once the buildings are complete, and the existing ones will then be demolished. The process will take at least through summer of 2009, said Mark Baker of Warrenton Oil. Plans call for 24x7 operations at a 4,000-sq,-ft. FastLane c-store, a larger restaurant, at least four types of fuel, including E85, five fuel lanes for trucks, Phillips gasoline pumps, a truck weight scale, wireless Internet, truck parts and component sales and a truck-tire repair service. The property eventually may be home to a Holiday Inn Express, as well. Family-owned Warrenton Oil now includes 30 FastLane convenience stores, 31 car wash bays and 12 food operations, and has two hotels on its properties.

Montana

Butte-based Town Pump Inc., whose subsidiary Big Sky Progress LLC owns the four-acre location, is building a gas station and casino on the site of a trailer park in Bozeman, said The Bozeman Daily Chronicle. The station will take six to seven months to build, Maureen Kenneally, vice president of communications for Town Pump, told the paper. When finished, the site will hold a 500-sq.-ft. station, gasoline and diesel pumps, and possibly a car wash. Town Pump gave the residents 180 days to move, as stipulated in their lease, and offered compensation—$2,100 if they took their trailers with them or $1,000 if they abandoned them.

New Mexico

La Huerta Chevron opened its doors in late January, Tom Hennessy, retail operations manager for Brewer Oil, told The Current-Argus. It is the sixth Brewer Oil store in Carlsbad. The store had previously been an Allsup's, which held a lease arrangement with Brewer. The store closed last June, and Brewer undertook a massive renovation. "We took out everything but the four walls," Hennessy said. "We basically put in a whole new store." Interior renovations included building a larger cooler and adding a full-service grill inside the store. Brewer also updated the store's floor plan, Hennessy said.

New York

Pack's Mini-Mart and gas station in Shelby offers an array of goods and fresh food "straight from the kitchen," said The Journal-Register. Owners Paul and Karen Antonio of Lockport opened the shop at the beginning of February, their second store. The former Coop's store closed in October. The shelves at Pack's are filled with canned goods, paper products, cereal, pet food, cleaners and snacks. Beverages and dairy fill the wall coolers. Beer will be added once they receive a liquor license. Customers can also pay their utility bills, use the ATM or rent DVDs. Breakfast sandwiches are available fresh from the kitchen.

North Dakota

NAPABody Parts in Glen Ullin recently expanded from an automotive parts store into a c-store and gas station, reported The Bismarck Tribune. It added 30-by-56-feet to the building, along with the gasoline and diesel pumps, an auto mechanic, as well as several additional employees.

Ohio

Construction has begun on a new Speedway gasoline and c-store in Monroe, said The Middletown Journal. The 3,900-sq.-ft. facility, which is scheduled to open in early May, will feature six pumps and will be capable of dispensing E85 once dispensers are approved by Underwriters Laboratories, said Robert Calmus, a spokesperson for Marathon Oil Co. Speedway SuperAmerica is a subsidiary of Marathon Petroleum Co. LLC, Findlay. Other improvements will include screening for outside storage, adding architectural dimensions such as columns to the facade and false windows to the rear of the building to be visually sensitive to possible future uses that may occur elsewhere in the development, partial stone wrap around the canopy columns and a mansard roof on the canopy.

A new Speedway SuperAmerica station has opened in Wilberforce, said The Green County Dailies. The development, named the Tawawa/Dave Hobson Plaza, is joint project between Speedway SuperAmerica, Enon, and the Tawawa Community Business Development Center. In addition to the 2,500-sq.-ft., 24x7 gas station and c-store, the plaza contains 500 sq. ft. of retail space for a restaurant. Speedway vice president Gary Buroker said his company plans to offer not only jobs, but internships and management training opportunities to Central State University and Wilberforce University students through the location.

Oklahoma

An Iowa trucking and warehouse company paid $2.8 million for a new Kum & Go store in Broken Arrow, said The Journal Record. Merchants White Line Warehousing Inc., Des Moines, Iowa, paid $547.09 per square foot to Grande Veloce Forte Corp. for the 1.7-acre site built last year. Todd Millang, a broker with CB Richard Ellis Hubbell Commercial, Des Moines, handled the sale. Last month, Millang brokered sales of two other Tulsa-area Kum & Go locations to Davis Estates Ltd., Des Moines, all featuring the same prototype layout of the store Merchants acquired. Davis paid $4.8 million for those locations, which sat on slightly smaller lots. Des Moines-based Kum & Go opened the 5,118-sq.-ft. Broken Arrow store last year.

Oregon

SeQuential Biofuels plans to open a second station in Eugene this year as well as its first station in Portland, reported The Register-Guard. SeQuential opened its first and only station in Eugene in September 2006. It sells biodiesel and ethanol, uses solar-powered pumps and a green roof and has a c-store that sells organic soda pop and chocolate, chlorine-­free diapers, nonpetroleum lip balm and baked goods from Sweet Life Patisserie.

Portland-based Carson Oil Co. has purchased the Wilsonville 76 station in Wilsonville from Horizon Oil Inc. for about $1.97 million, said the CoStar Group. Horizon Oil purchased the property for $1.2 million a few days before flipping it to Carson Oil. The station sits on a little less than an acre and includes a 1,500-sq.-ft. c-store and an automated full-service car wash.

Pennsylvania

A Mahanoy City c-store previously under private ownership has reopened under new management, said The Republican Herald. Michael Klucitas, regional manager of Uni-Mart Corp., State College, said the store will offer 24-hour shopping. The store was closed after a raid and Klucitas would not comment on how the corporation reacquired ownership. He said the store has been cleaned, painted and remodeled.

South Carolina

Greenville, S.C.-based Spinx Co. Inc. has opened a new c-store in Spartanburg. The 24-hour store will fill a void in commerce left by the relocation of property's former business, Junie White's Pine Street Exxon, said The Spartanburg Herald Journal. The $2.5-million, 3,800-sq.-ft. station and store features a touchscreen ordering system, 12 fueling stations with digital TV and full pre-pay functions and smart merchandising machines that allow customers to print coupons for use in the store. It also has a car wash, a sandwich bar and a grocery section.

Henry's Travel Center has opened in Orangeburg, said The Times & Democrat. The $6.7-million facility, which includes a Hungry Henry's Roadside Cafe and an Arby's, occupies 6.5 acres. It will be open 24x7 and includes large fueling capabilities, Wi-Fi, a satellite sheriff's office, a Western Union and a truckers' section with showers, a lounge and CAT scales. It will offer every grade of fuel, including E85, low-sulfur, off-road and biodiesel, supplied by Marathon Oil. Henry Goodwin, owner of the Henry's Southern Oil Co. Service Center and SOC station, developed the travel center because of the lack of truckstops in the area, he said.

Tennessee

A new Thorntons QuickCafe & Market will open in Mufreesboro in mid-July, Kelly Shaughnessy, manager of advertising and promotions for Thorntons Inc., Louisville, Ky., told The Murfreesboro Post. Thorntons plans to develop two to three convenience store sites in Murfreesboro. "Our current plan for growth in the greater Nashville area is to develop 20 stores in the next four years," Shaughnessy said. The station will have 10 gas pumps with 20 fueling stations.

A gas station and c-store in Berclair has sold for $1 million. Macon Wells LLC, a Duluth, Ga., limited-liability company, bought the property from Exxon Mobil Corp., reported The Memphis Daily News, financing the purchase with a $900,000 mortgage. The .87-acre property includes eight pumps and a 3,256-sq.-ft. c-store built in 1998. ExxonMobil bought the property in March 2003 for $215,000.

Collierville-based Lamar Petroleum Inc. recently purchased a gas station and 3,256-sq.-ft. c-store in Memphis for $2.1 million from Mid-South C-Stores LLC, said The Memphis Daily News. Lamar Petroleum financed the purchase with $38,000 and $880,000 loans through the seller. Also, Mid-South C-Stores assigned to Lamar Petroleum a loan through First Capital Bank for nearly $875,000, the remaining principal on Mid-South C-Stores' $900,000 loan taken out in April. Mid-South C-Stores bought the property in April for $750,000. The station will sell Texaco-branded gasoline supplied by Graves Oil Co.

Virginia

A&G Properties LLC, a car wash retailer based in Newport News, has purchased a gas station in Virginia Beach from SMO Inc. for $1.24 million, or about $689 per square foot, the CoStar Group reported. The 1,800-square-foot gas station will be expanded to 2,500 square feet of retail space, which will include a laundromat and a car wash. Completion is estimated for first-quarter 2008.

Wisconsin

A 24-hour BP gas station in New Richmond opened its doors for business in late January, The New Richmond News said. Ryan Grubbs, owner of New City Development, said the 5,000-sq.-ft. facility will be the cornerstone of the new retail development.

Popp Enterprises bought Bubba's Place from B&K Enterprises for $1.1 million in December, and opened Popp's Harbor Town Exxon in Manitowoc for business in early January, said The Herald Times Reporter. Randall Popp said the location will continue to serve as a UPS shipping point. It offers a self-serve bait shop and has added hot breakfast and lunch sandwiches and soups. Patrons of John Foster's adjoining Foster Car Wash will still receive discounts for services, based upon fuel purchases.