MOUNT VERNON — As weary motorists deal with daily sticker shock at the gas pump, it is good to know some relief is on the horizon.
Amy Barlow, a Kroger spokeswoman, confirmed Thursday afternoon with the News, the grocery store chain plans to purchase Bullock’s Smoke Shop on Coshocton Avenue.
“We are in contract with Jeff and Linda Bullock to purchase their fuel center in front of our store (in Mount Vernon),” Barlow said.
Representatives from Kroger have met with the city, according to Barlow, to provide their plan for the site which would strip the location of the pumps and tanks, as well as the current store and drive-through.
“That’s a pretty busy corner,” said Mount Vernon Safety-Service Director Dave Glass of the intersection at Shalimar Drive and Coshocton Avenue. “The main issue there is the ingress and eggress. We have to look at whether we just let people out onto Shalimar Drive and at the light (Coshocton Avenue and Vernedale Drive). Plus we need to be able to get semi trucks in to fill the fuel tanks.”
Glass said over the next two years the city and ODOT will be working on safety improvements in that area and the Kroger plans will have to fit into that study.
“It’s a give-and-take process but we are just looking at the preliminary plans right now but things look good so far,” he said.
The new fuel center will include five pumps that also offer diesel fuel. A 112-square-foot kiosk would house an attendant and a restroom. The center would have set hours as she said it was not typical for Kroger fuel centers to operate 24 hours a day.
“If the contract goes through, Kroger would install an entirely new facility including new tanks,” Barlow said.
Barlow could not put a time frame on the opening of the fuel center as the sale of the property has not yet been closed.
“We are working hard to provide a fuel center to the residents of Mount Vernon, but we do not have a time frame yet,” Barlow said.
Kroger customers would earn points with the store’s rewards card that can be exchanged for discounts at the fuel center.
Kevin Bullock spoke with the News Thursday evening for his parents, Jeff and Linda, and said they were in negotiations with Kroger but the sale of the property had not been finalized.