The operator of a 7-Eleven store in Walbridge is enlisting the help of residents and local elected officials to reverse a decision by the corporation’s management to end the sale of gasoline at the store after the Labor Day holiday.
Gail Adler, the franchisee for the store at 200 N. Main Street, and her son-in-law, Mike Doyle, have started a petition drive to gather signatures to “save the pumps” at the store, hoping the petitions will give them some leverage in an appeal to management.
“I’m willing to travel to Illinois (7-Eleven division headquarters) to pitch our case,” Doyle said.
In a letter to the Wood County commissioners, Adler and Doyle say monthly gas sales at the store are usually around 40,000 gallons.
Local government, businesses, and residents rely on the service, Doyle said.
“It is our contention that not only will this impact the store, but the local community…Village of Walbridge operations (police, maintenance vehicles), CSX railroad, Northwood Door, and Professional Transportation, Inc,” the letter says. “Customers have supported the store for 32 years. Now, 7-Eleven corporate is going to turn a blind eye to the community’s needs.”
The store registered sales of $1.4 million in 2008, according to Doyle, who said the corporation has had a policy of having gas sales equal at least 24 percent of gross sales at a store or a profit of at least 1.5 cents per gallon.
A message left with the 7-Eleven corporate Web site for comment Wednesday was not returned.
With the convenience store the only location in the village limits selling gasoline, local motorists will have to drive to service stations on Woodville Road or along State Route 795 for the next nearest place to purchase fuel, Doyle said.
He and Adler contend they didn’t have any input into the decision and were told it was based on the corporation’s return on investment, not on environmental or related issues. Still, the company told him it estimates it would cost about $400,000 to replace the tanks, he added.
Their letter includes a request for the commissioners to seek input from the Wood County Economic Development Commission to determine if funding is available for upgrading the fuel tanks.
Ohio levies a .28 cent motor fuel tax on every gallon sold. Based on the store’s monthly sales of 40,000 gallons, the tax would generate $11,200, or $134,400 a year.
Motor fuel taxes collected by the state are distributed among state and local governmental units according to statutory formula. In 2008, Walbridge received $120,503 in fuel taxes, according to the Ohio Department of Taxation.
A federal gasoline tax is also levied on sales at the pump.
According to the Ohio Bureau of Underground Storage Tank Regulations (BUSTR), there are three tanks at the site; two have a capacity of 10,000 gallons and one has a 6,000-gallon capacity.
BUSTR records show it investigated what it calls a suspected release at the site in June, 2000 but it was determined there wasn’t an actual release.