A petition drive to maintain gasoline service at the 7-Eleven store in Walbridge has garnered more than 1,000 signatures.
Gail Adler, the franchisee for the store at 200 N. Main Street, and her son-in-law, Mike Doyle, embarked on a petition drive after being notified by the company it plans to stop selling gasoline at the store after the Labor Day holiday.
The two had said they hoped the petitions would give them some leverage with the corporate office as they try to continue the service.
Last week, Doyle said a division manager told him the decision to close the gasoline pumps could be delayed for another year.
“He said they may possibly push it back a year. We’ll see,” Doyle said.
Monthly gas sales at the store are usually around 40,000 gallons.
Walbridge Mayor Dan Wilczynski said the village purchases about $1,000 worth of gasoline from the store each month for police cruisers and maintenance vehicles.
“Losing this service in our town would, of course, hamper us somewhat by causing us to travel farther and out of town to purchase our fuel,” the mayor said. “But the real hurt would be if we lost 7-Eleven completely because of this decision by corporate. That store serves as a hub for our community with its central location and the focal point it provides for communication about what is going on in and around town.”
Margaret Chablis, Director of Corporate Communications, said the initial decision was based on financial reasons.
“7-Eleven, Inc. is responsible for all facets of the gasoline operation at the Walbridge, Ohio store, including its installation, maintenance, and any upgrades,” she said. “The initial investment to provide gasoline service is typically $1 million.
“Unfortunately, gasoline sales at this store have been unprofitable, even before considering the cost to upgrade these tanks, which would be required because of their age. After weighing the options for this location, we made a financial decision to discontinue the gasoline operation.”
Doyle and Adler are even asking the Wood County commissioners to intervene and to determine if there are economic development funds available for upgrading the pumps.
The store has been in business 32 years, Doyle said.