AT YOUR CONVENIENCE
Convenience stores, gas pumps returning to Chelsea, Kent areas
Saturday, August 24, 2013 5:00 AM
The former Kent Mercantile and Chelsea General Store will reopen under new ownership this fall.
Tim Morrison talks about his plans for the Kent Mercantile and Chelsea General Store. He has bought and is remodeling both locations to serve residents in those areas. (Staff photo by Ken Ritchieemail@example.com)
Tim Morrison, whose family owns Pate's Processing, Pate's Pantry and Mid-Cities Overhead Doors, purchased both locations this year and is in the process of opening each site as a gas station and convenience store combination.
Both will keep the same names but include "Timmy's" merchandise.
The Kent store will remain a BP location with four pumps and reopen in the first of September. Crews continued work this week to install the fuel lines for the pumps, and Morrison hopes to have the gas available during the official opening.
"Come hell or high water, we'll be open Sept. 1," Morrison said.
The hours of operation will be 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. from Sunday through Thursday and 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. The pumps will be open all day.
The opening of the Chelsea store, which has yet to be renovated, will come in October. Morrison hopes to install a Phillips 66 station there.
"We are going to spread them a month apart just to get this one under our belts," Morrison said.
The new locations will be the Morrisons' first shot at running a gas station and convenience store.
"Some people call it work, I like to call it opportunity," Morrison said.
In Kent, new drink machines, counter tops and displays fill the inside of the near-finished 1,800-square foot facility.
The store closed in early 2010 and was controlled by Scott County State Bank before Morrison purchased it.
Since then, it has undergone a major four-month reconstruction period. Morrison said the wiring had been stripped out of the walls and there were substantial septic and plumbing issues - so much that he has had to connect to a sewer line.
"We redid the whole thing," Morrison said of the store, which now includes a repaired roof and interior cabinets made by Morrison himself.
In the future, Morrison plans to incorporate a full kitchen and serve pizza and other hot food for workers coming in for lunch and the dinner crowd. It also will include items from Pate's Pantry.
Morrison said he first recognized the need for the stores in both communities. In both cases, the nearest gas station or convenience store was miles away.
But even though he's found a demand, he said he has no intention of putting high mark-ups on items such as milk and bread.
And he plans to be the same price as the nearest BP gas stations.
"I want to make it fair for everyone," he said.
Since the Kent makeover began, Morrison said local residents have been asking when the store will reopen.
"Oh, they're ready for it," he said.