NEW PALESTINE — For decades, New Palestine has been a one gas station town. That’s about to change.
Rickers Oil Co. has announced plans to open a Rickers Convenience Store and Gas Station early next year at the west end of town.
The town currently has just one gas station — Speedway, a 24/7 shop, 5058 U.S. 52 West, located in the middle of town boundaries.
The town’s board of zoning appeals recently voted in favor of allowing Rickers to install fuel pumps on the plot of land at the southwest corner of U.S. 52 and South County Road 600W.
Two other corners at the intersection are currently undeveloped land, while an empty, unused building sits on the southeast corner.
The plans, including the sale of the land from a private owner to Rickers, are pending final approval from the Indiana Department of Transportation for the store’s well, entrances and exits onto public roads; company officials say they plan to start construction in November and be open for business by the spring once permits are received.
The company, based in Anderson, was founded in 1979 and owns 50 convenience stores throughout the state, according to its website, rickersrewards.com.
The new convenience store and gas station will be open 24 hours a day and is expected to bring 13 to 20 jobs, said Travis Smith, Rickers real estate and construction chief.
Officials are not sure how many of those positions will end up being full or part time just yet; however, according to the company website, a store manager makes between $35,000 and $51,000, while the associate manager wages are $13 to $15 per hour.
Base wages for customer service employees are listed at $9 per hour.
Brad Schoeff, lead engineer on the project, told the board the new service station will be built on two acres of land and will have six fueling pumps for vehicles and three others for big rig diesel trucks.
The front of the gas station will have a convenience store with a front fueling canopy facing U.S. 52 and a rear fueling area on the south side for diesel trucks.
Rickers officials said they’ve been eyeing New Palestine for some time.
“It’s taken us a couple of years to get to this point, but we’re glad we’re finally here,” Smith said.
Local officials hope the addition of the service station could serve as a catalyst for other business development.