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September 25, 2019

Bealeton Sheetz opening will feature gifts, giveaways

Photos/Don Del Rosso
The new Sheetz in Bealeton stands just 3-1/2 miles from the store up Route 17 at Opal.
Mintbrook residents Robin Phillips and Bernard Mills easily can walk to the new store.
Manager Sarah Funk, who previously managed the Sheet at Opal, has worked more than 12 years for the company.
It gets to 2 or 3 o’clock in the morning and I need a snack, I can walk over there and do what I do. The community needs more things like that.
— Bernard Mills
Bealeton Sheetz Opening
• When: 8 a.m. Friday, Sept. 27

• Where: 2.3-acre site at Routes 17 and 28

• Store size: About 6,000 square feet

• Employees: 30, half of them full-time workers; the store plans to hire 5 more full-timers.

• Starting pay: $12 per hour

• Details: Store opening celebration will include $2,500 donations to the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank and Special Olympics Virginia, gift card drawings, giveaways, a ribbon-cutting ceremony and free fountain drinks and coffee for first day.
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Staff Journalist
The retired roofer can’t wait for Friday’s opening of the new Sheetz gas station and convenience store at Bealeton.

It will make life a lot easier “for people that don’t have a car to go to Food Lion or 7-Eleven,” explained Bernard Mills, 67, who lives in the Mintbrook seniors-only apartment building that stands behind the 2.3-acre store site. “It gets to 2 or 3 o’clock in the morning and I need a snack, I can walk over there and do what I do. The community needs more things like that.”

Robin Phillips, a licensed companion who also lives at the apartment complex, agreed.

“It think it’s going to be awesome,” said Ms. Phillips, 58. “It’s within walking distance. You’re going to get food that’s not outdated like you get at 7-Eleven. The variety is great.

“I just like the Sheetz. I like their coffee, gas price is decent. And, we’ve been waiting.”

Fauquier’s third Sheetz will open at 8 a.m. Friday. The Altoona, Pa.-based company has a store at Opal — about 3-1/2 miles north of Bealeton — and one in Warrenton.

With Bealeton, Sheetz will have 84 stores in Virginia and a total of 596 in six states, Public Relations Manager Nick Ruffner said.

The Sept. 27 opening celebration of the Bealeton store at the northwest quadrant of Routes 17 and 28 will include a ribbon-cutting ceremony, $2,500 donations to Special Olympics Virginia and the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank, Mr. Ruffner said.

Friday’s event also will include three gift card drawings and “spin-the-wheel” giveaways, Mr. Ruffner said.

The $250-card drawings will take place at 10:15 a.m. and 10:30 a.m.; the $1,000 drawing will occur at 10:45 a.m.

Fountain drinks and coffee will be free for the first day, according to Mr. Ruffner.

The Bealeton store already has about 30 employees — half of them full-timers, Manager Sarah Funk said.

It plans to hire five more full-time workers, according to Ms. Funk, who previously managed the Opal Sheetz for about 2-1/2 years.

All employees start at $12 per hour, she said.

Ms. Funk, who joined Sheetz a dozen years ago, made the switch to the Bealeton store in May.

“You couldn’t come into the store until of a couple of weeks ago,” said the manager, surveying the stocked shelves Tuesday.

Mr. Ruffner declined to say how much Sheetz has invested in the Bealeton project and the terms of the company’s contract to lease the site from Forest Gold LLC. Landowner Grace Lim also refused to discuss the 50-year agreement.

For tax purposes, the county assesses the Opal Sheetz and its site at $2.4 million.

Traci Fentress, 44, lives in the 575-home Mintbrook mixed-use community just behind the Sheetz.

“We’re happy to have the gas station,” Ms. Fentress said. “However, we’re hoping to get some restaurants.”

Because a new road from Sheetz provides access to Mintbrook and the subdivision’s entrance along Route 28, “I’m a little worried about the traffic it will bring into our community,” she added.

Mr. Ruffner declined to discuss company’s site-selection process.

“We don’t get into the particulars of why we pick particular real estate locations,” he said. “But, I will say that we have a lot of folks that work internally in our real estate department that looks for sites that have a lot of slow and steady traffic. And, I would say that’s probably the appeal of that location.”

He also expressed no concern that the Bealeton and Opal stores would compete for the same customers.

“I think folks that live in that area will stop in the Opal store and some will stop at the new Bealeton one as well,” Mr. Ruffner said.

He added: “Each (Sheetz) store is really intended to serve a particular audience. In some cases, it’s a neighborhood. In other cases, we have only one store in a particular community.”

The company has “multiple store locations” in many communities and they “seem to do pretty well,” Mr. Ruffner said.

The Bealeton Sheetz enters a market with two gas station/convenience stores at the busy Southern Fauquier intersection. 7-Elevens stand on two of the four corners.

That doesn’t concern the company.

“We have friendly competition wherever we go,” Mr. Ruffner.

Confident in the company’s product, he described Sheetz “the ultimate one-stop shop. You can get gas. You can also get MTO (Made to Order) food that’s fully customizable, specialty drinks that are fully customizable. And, you can also sit down and eat that food.”

Barbie Lillard of Bealeton welcomes the store.

“I think it’s wonderful,” said Ms. Lillard, a 38-year-old nurse. “I’m particular . . . . I just prefer Sheetz — the gas, the food, the job opportunity for people who don’t have employment.”

Contact Don Del Rosso at Don@FauquierNow.com or 540-270-0300.
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glenkVA · September 25, 2019 at 3:00 pm
Why is it built BACKWARDS??
It seems perfectly sensible to have it FACING the busier highway, which is US 17 Marsh Road.

Building it with the pumps facing the street would also put the convenience store some significant number of steps closer to those 55 and over houses. At that age many people have limits to their mobility. The people in cars, if they come off US 17 could get in easier if the pumps were directly off the street.

For those on Route 28 there does not appear to be a difference.

Does not Leave the store configured for the best visual appeal to through traffic.

WHY WHY WHY???
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