Many members of the Cleghorn community turned out for a meeting last week to learn about the possibility of erecting a convenience station at an estimated cost of $750,000. It will provide a place for local residents to pick up grocery items or pizza, chicken and many other favorite prepared foods in addition to fuel for their vehicles. Ron Wetherell welcomed a good sized group.
An ad hoc committee has been working on the plans for this community project for some time. Representatives from the country as well as Cleghorn served on the committee. They are Eric Wester, Jay Fuhrman, Bob Byers, Bruce French, Mark Jenkins, Mary Lou Wolf, Karen Doeden, Joan Ehrig, Lavern Birch, Todd Wetherell and Ron Wetherell.
Representatives from the committee met with the First Cooperative Association a couple of times. The cooperative decided to sell the property formerly known as the "C-Store" located next to Highway 3 for $150,000. Wetherell explained the purchase price covers the cost of the property and tanks but it does not include the pumps or card-trole. The group has a month to see if they can raise $375,000 to make the project go. A check has to be written prior to August 1 to the cooperative.
Attorney John Cook was there to explain how the project would be set up. A limited liability was believed to be the best way to go. Washta was used as an example of how to set it up and make it work to make ends meet as well as a small profit. Those wanting to be a part of the project could buy shares in amounts from $1,000 to $25,000. It would be taxed similar to a partnership.
Mark Buschkamp, Director of the Cherokee Economic Development Corporation, was present and shared his thoughts. He mainly pointed out, as others had, Cleghorn needs to maintain a certain level of services to keep home values up.
Plans call for the old building to be removed and then repositioning a new building (40 feet wide by 60 feet long) which would be similar in design to the Cenex C-Store in Paullina. The new gas island will have two pumps with three hoses on each side allowing four vehicles at one time. They want to install a 25-foot square canopy with overhead lights for good visibility at night while filling vehicles. Diagonal parking will be provided on each end of the building as well as parallel parking in the front between the building and gas pumps.
The diesel island will remain in the same location. However, they plan on installing a slave pump for the road diesel fuel. They hope to install a canopy on the diesel island at a later date.
Plans call to offer six fuel products: road diesel, off road diesel, another off-road diesel probably blended with bio diesel 2 percent or greater, regular unleaded gas, E-10 gas (10 percent ethanol blended) and E-85 gas with 85 percent ethanol blended.
The board wants the station to have the latest technology in card readers on the pumps. It was pointed out it is wise to have the situation friendly to truckers,
Wetherell explained money (an estimated $650,000) will be needed not only for the property, building, canopies, equipment and pavement. They need operating capital (an estimated $100,000) for fuel inventory, food and grocery inventory (more than just milk and bread), start-up labor cost, insurance, licenses and operating cash.
Wetherell mentioned their plans call for carrying a normal grocery store inventory with a ten-door cooler and a three-door freezer. Also items such as automotive products, oils and grease, light bulbs, beverages, Lotto tickets and the like. He wants to make sure good quality food (burgers, chicken, tenderloins, all kinds of snacks, breakfast items) are being served. The goal is to serve the people of Cleghorn and those that travel through.