Delaware residents could soon enjoy all that Sheetz has to offer as the uber-popular gas station and convenience store franchise based in Altoona, Pennsylvania, has moved one step closer to bringing the brand to the community.
Wednesday’s meeting of the Delaware Planning Commission saw a Combined Preliminary and Final Development Plan from Skilken Gold Real Estate Development approved for a Sheetz to be constructed on approximately 4.6 acres at 700 Sunbury Road. The site currently contains two vacant buildings — the former Delaware Marine and a former tobacco shop.
Proposed is a 6,007-square-foot building that would be constructed on the site, as well as four fueling islands that would include eight gas pumps. But while a fueling station is certainly an amenity of Sheetz, it is just one of many.
In addition to the fueling islands, the 6,007-square-foot building would include a convenience store that offers the standard snack and drink options, as well as a restaurant that features a wide variety of made-to-order fast food options for indoor dining.
For all who are in a hurry or don’t wish to leave their car, a drive-thru would be located on the south side of the building to provide on-the-go access to the restaurant as well.
“We get a little upset when we are referred to as a fuel station,” Frank Petruziello, president of development for Skilken Gold, told council Wednesday. “Not because we don’t sell fuel, we certainly do. But so does Kroger and so does Walmart … We have come from the food industry, we have come from selling groceries, and have come from the restaurant business. We’ve added fuel as a service to our customers, just like Kroger and others have added fuel (stations).”
Petruziello went on to say, “Our DNA is not in a drill rig in Texas. Our DNA is in a pasture in Pennsylvania.” He talked at length about the restaurant aspect of the store being the separating factor from the common association with other gas stations.
“This is not a Speedway with wrapped plastic sandwiches … Our food is made to order,” Petruziello said. “It’s not coming from this bin on a shelf where you pull it out and plop it on a bun.” He added that the menu contains anything from burgers to pizza, subs, Mexican, and plenty of other entrees.
Customers utilize touch screens to customize their orders and then present their ticket to the register to pay and submit their order. Once their food is ready, customers can sit at one of 30 tables in the dining area.
Petruziello said Sheetz does only around 10% of its restaurant sales through the drive-thru window. However, like the decision to add fuel stations to their business, he said the drive-thru window was added simply as another convenience to customers. Sheetz also provides the option of online ordering through its app.
The Delaware location would offer two access points: right-in, right-out-only access off of Sunbury Road and a full-movement curb cut on Mill Run Road Crossing. The developers are required to perform a traffic impact study on the site, which is currently underway and must be approved by the city engineer. Any required traffic improvements will be the responsibility of the developers to complete.
Speaking on concerns about the additional traffic Sheetz may bring to an already congested area, Commissioner Jim Halter said the city is doing the best it can with The Point project, which will help the traffic congestion but will never alleviate the traffic issue altogether. He said that while Sheetz may add traffic, it won’t be any different than the stores recently approved at Glennwood Commons, the apartments that were approved last year, or any other type of development that is coming to that area of Delaware.
Petruziello said of any traffic concerns, “We don’t have an interest in operating in a bad traffic situation. That’s why we spend so much money on our very expensive consultants. We don’t do that just to satisfy (Delaware Project Engineer) Carrie Fortman. We do it to satisfy ourselves also, that we can operate efficiently and not be a burden on the traffic system.”
Delaware City Council will hold the first reading for the Sheetz proposal at 7 p.m. Monday, March 9. Meetings are held in the council chambers at City Hall, located at 1 S. Sandusky St.
Sheetz announced its move into central Ohio last year. Currently, there are more than 500 locations throughout Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina and Ohio. Most of the 40 Ohio locations are located in the northeast portion of the state, with the closest to central Ohio located in Zanesville.