Recycling Sheetz structures
The building at 2601 Fifth Ave. in which Sheetz Inc. got its start in 1952, today houses the office of a magisterial district judge.
Other former Sheetz locations have become car washes. At least two of the early Sheetz stores are now home to FeFi’s convenience stores.
Store No. 1 is home to Magisterial District Judge Todd Kelly, and No. 2 is home to the Oasis car wash near Bishop Guilfoyle Catholic High School.
“Oasis retrofitted the building to make it a car wash,” said Steven P. Augustine, Sheetz assistant vice president for real estate.
Today, at least two of the early Sheetz stores in the area remain vacant.
The Evey family, which owns Exit Realty John Hill, owns the former Sheetz store site at 509 E. Plank Road, which has been vacant since Sept. 23, 2010, said Matt Evey, broker/owner of the real estate business.
The store, which opened as a Sheetz on May 1, 1991, recently went under contract to be sold, and the transaction is expected to be finalized in early October.
“The commercial market has not been the greatest. We were trying to lease it. As soon as we listed it for sale, it went within a week,” Evey said.
Evey could not provide information on the buyer or his plans for the building.
Another vacant store sits on Route 219 on an S curve in Northern Cambria.
That building recently was put up for sale, said Don Lantzy, partner in Lantzy Insurance and Real Estate.
“It has only been for sale for about one month. The list price is $100,000. I don’t think we will have any trouble getting it sold,” Lantzy said.
That was the second location Sheetz operated within a one-mile stretch along Route 219. A modern store now sits at 4025 Crawford Ave.
The original Sheetz store on that stretch, at 3502 Bigler Ave., is now home to Getty Insurance Agency and Attorney George P. Elias.
“It is a very solid building. You can still see some of the original red floor tile,” said Dave Getty, insurance business owner.
Among some of the other earlier Sheetz locations:
— No. 3 on Blair Street in Hollidaysburg, has been rebuilt.
— No. 5 on North Fourth Avenue in Juniata was closed six or seven years ago when a new modern store opened on other side of Eighth Street Bridge on Old Sixth Avenue Road. It has been converted into a Sheetz training center.
— The No. 7 site at 5700 Sixth Ave., now houses the Sheetz corporate office.
Sheetz, which today operates 476 stores – 237 in Pennsylvania, 67 in North Carolina, 63 in Virginia, 44 in West Virginia, 35 in Ohio and 30 in Maryland – actually “owns” a small percentage of its store locations.
“Probably close to 60 percent of them are owned by third parties; we are simply a tenant. The other 40 percent are owned by real estate companies affiliated with Sheetz,” said president and CEO Joe Sheetz.
Sheetz often leases buildings such as the one owned by the Evey family on East Plank Road. For about 25 years, Sheetz leased a building (store No. 8) on Lloyd Street from Martin Oil Co. That building is now a FeFi’s convenience store as is a former Sheetz location at Howard Avenue and Fourth Street.
Once Sheetz closes its operations, the company takes care of the site, Augustine said.
“When we lease, you can’t take the building with you. We pull out the storage tanks, take down the canopy and remove the multiple product dispensers (gas pumps). With any store we close, we do an environmental assessment to make sure the soils are at least acceptable to DEP. We clean it up if necessary. If the store is not that old, we don’t have to do anything. It depends on the age of the store and the age of the tanks,” Augustine said.
“Once our lease is over, the landlord controls the property and its future. For sites we control, we strip them of Sheetz brand elements, take care of getting a clean bill of health from environmental agencies and sell them off rather quickly,” Sheetz said.
Meanwhile, Sheetz also plans to close another of its older locations at 1401 13th St. when the new store on Chestnut Avenue near UPMC Altoona opens in November. Another new store being built on Frankstown Road near Park Avenue also is expected to open in November, Augustine said.
Sheetz also has plans to try a new concept with its original Huntingdon store (No. 10) at 14th and Moore streets.
“We will take out the fuel pumps and turn it into a cafe. We have a good location but can’t get enough property to build the prototypical size store (need two acres). We are kicking around the Sheetz Cafe idea when we have a location close to a college or university. We are trying to do the same thing with No. 19 in downtown Indiana,” Augustine said.