BOARDMAN, Ohio (WKBN) – How many combination gas stations/convenience stores can one stretch of road handle? The answer along Route 224 in the Boardman/Canfield area is 11 – at least for now.
The stretch of road we’re talking about is 5.4 miles between South Avenue and Raccoon Road in Mahoning County. There are currently nine gas station/convenience stores, with two more on the way.
When finished, the new Speedway in Boardman will be the tenth gas station/convenience store built along Route 224.
“With 100,000 people coming in and out a day, double that or triple that with carload, and you’ll see that there is a market and need for those types of things,” said Boardman Township Administrator Jason Loree.
Among the companies with stores along 224 are Get Go which has three, Sheetz has two, BP has two, and Shell also has two. A vacant lot at Parkside Drive will soon be the new Meijer gas station/convenience store. These companies, Loree says, know what they’re doing.
“These companies use some effective marketing and census data tools to figure out where they want to locate,” he said.
The new Speedway will have 10 islands of gas pumps, but on the “Coming Soon” sign, only one of the four bullet points promotes the sale of gas.
Paul Lyden of Youngstown’s Lyden Oil Company said convenience stores are where the money is made.
“They’re in there trying to make their 35 to 45 gross profit on inside sales. That’s why they are not going to be heavily dependent or dependent at all on the cents per gallon margin they’re pumping into your tank,” Lyden said.
But is having so many gas stations/convenience stores in such a short distance a positive for Boardman Township?
“They’re going to come in there and meet all the new stormwater requirements, green space requirements, ” Loree said. “The market still sees us as a viable area to do business, so you’ve got jobs, you’ve got places to live, you’ve got educational and recreational opportunities. That’s key for us. As long as that’s happening, I think, as a township, we’re doing OK.”
With companies like General Motors investing heavily in electric vehicles, some question the need to build stations that sell gasoline. Lyden said we’re still a long way away from getting rid of gas and that the new stations will be good for another 20 years, maybe longer.