Giant gas stations

How This Giant, Weird Gas Station Became a $30 Million Business
November 6, 2016 – 10:28 pm

The Dallas Visitor's Bureau promotes this city with the tagline "Big Things Happen Here." Certainly the rest of the country associates Dallas with size. Big steaks. Big highways. Big belt buckles.

And, of course, big-thinking entrepreneurs. John Benda's gas station-he calls it a travel center-occupies eight acres and earns north of $30 million a year. By contrast, most stations currently for sale in Texas sit on an acre or less, according to a search of real-estate site LoopNet. Nationwide, gas stations with adjacent convenience stores typically rack up about $2 million in annual sales.

A second Fuel City in Lufkin, Texas, occupies 11 acres; and a third, opening this year in the Dallas suburb of Mesquite, sprawls over a whopping 17. Benda recently acquired the land for a fourth Fuel City, in Fort Worth. "I can build two pretty good-sized ones for the price, " he says. "But I can build one huge one. So I am going to build one huge one."

But Benda's vision is far more complex and interesting than just building a big gas station. (Fuel City actually is not the largest station in Texas.) "I wanted to build a ranch in downtown Dallas, " he says. "I wanted people to see what this place was like before it was a city. So I brought in my longhorns and donkeys. I put in an oil derrick and a 90-year-old windmill."

And he positioned Fuel City as an entertainment mecca, with food that frequently makes best-of-Dallas lists, a car wash that features a view of the animals, and a swimming pool. As the local publication D Magazine put it, "calling Fuel City a gas station is like saying The Grapes of Wrath is a story about a car trip."

A vacant lot and a dream

Benda's background is as eclectic as his business. He was an entrepreneurial 10-year-old, retrieving golf balls from the lake at the country club his father owned, bagging them, and selling them back to the duffers. In the 1970s he attended several colleges-graduating from none of them-before embarking on a career that included life insurance agent, matchbox-advertising salesman, youth minister, and president of a disposable-lighter company.

In 1980 he acquired a smoke shop in downtown Dallas for $75, 000 and turned it into a convenience store called Friendly's. After a few years he sold that store for a small profit and opened another one. Then he did it again. And again.

Source: www.inc.com
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Popular Q&A
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Does the Giant Gas Station sell eggs?

Giant Gas Station in Santa Fe, NM is a supermarket as well as a gas station, so I'm sure they do sell eggs. Phone: 505-984-2689.

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