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Williamson Whistle Stop gas station opens

Mayor Steve Fry was the first customer at the Williamson Whistle Stop – a nod to the city’s railway which ran right in front of the store for many decades – during a ‘˜soft opening’ Feb. 28. He and his kids were also the first customers at the new convenience store’s attached Subway restaurant. In the fall, a Papa John’s pizza restaurant will open at the store as well. The gas station and restaurant are now open for business. ’I want to thank everyone for all the time and effort that enabled this to happen for our city and community,’ said mayor Fry. ‘This is a ‘˜soft opening’ with limited product in the convenience store side, but vendors will be continuing to stock throughout the week and weekend. A sampling of most shelf items are available and we had fuel customers as well. The owners and managers have been cooperative and the place is looking good and is something for which the city can be proud. The convenience store will continue to be stocked and add services and products to include breakfast sandwiches and chicken biscuits, a coffee bar, a milkshake machine, lottery tickets and more snacks and sundry items.’ A ribbon cutting ceremony will be held at a later date. There will still be some touch-up construction and the monument sign with the fuel prices will be installed and all plans are in compliance with city codes. The fuel pumps are up and operational with five varieties of fuel offered, including regular, mid-grade and premium gasoline, on-road diesel and ethanol-free 90 octane gasoline.  The ethanol-free gasoline is used by boat owners and for use in small engines such as mowers, weed-eaters, chainsaws, pressure washers, etc. ’The owners of the property are Jamie Watts and Jerry Colwell, Dee McLeRoy of McLeRoy Construction and Bill and Bryan Jones of Jones Petroleum who have all been working with us along the way. Many citizens had expressed concerns when they heard the old Whitehurst property had been sold for development. Now I receive compliments on the complex daily,’ said mayor Fry. ‘The city was proactive in getting good ordinances in place to protect the residential properties nearby and to avoid the metal sided businesses which can be commonplace in outer suburbia and semi-rural small towns such as ours. We had some good ordinances in place even before the Dollar General was built across the street, but have improved on the aesthetics and visual impact elements since the Dollar General opened.’ The petroleum pump canopy was designed specifically for the Williamson location with angles, brackets and features reminiscent of the railroad depot which stood a few hundred feet from the location. The train tracks formerly ran just in front of where the complex now stands. The storefront and canopy lighting was designed to greatly reduce night sky pollution and to avoid the common glaring gas station lights which project onto the roadway and intrude onto neighboring properties. ’The aesthetically pleasing brickwork on the storefronts and the bronze metalwork awnings and accents add a very nice touch. Keep watching the location and you will see further improvements to enhance the visual impact of this addition to our community,’ said mayor Fry. ‘I am excited to see the results of the year-long effort becoming reality with something the city can be proud of. Come by and support our Williamson Whistle Stop as it supports our community.’

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