MASSTOWN - Contrary to local "scuttlebutt," the closing of the Petro-Canada gas bar in Glenholme and the opening of another in Masstown are completely unrelated, the new owner says.
"That is not the scuttlebutt I want out there," said Laurie Jennings, who hopes to have his new Petro-Canada gas bar, located across from the Masstown Market, open by month's end.
"Basically, the fact that they closed had nothing to do with what we did," he said, of the Petro-Canada gas bar in Glenholme that closed last Thursday. But the notion that we were somehow responsible really, really concerns me, because I would like to see a whole lot more businesess. This whole Glenhome loop, we worked hard to get the Glenholme loop designation."
And while the designation hasn't created the demand for business that Jennings and its other proponents has hoped for, he said, "there's still so much potential on this exit, on this little loop. And it's sad to see businesses close."
"I didn't set out to have a Petro-Can," Jennings said. "And Petro-Can has no money in this, they're supplying us with gas. They put up the sign."
When Jennings purchased the former motel and gas bar on the site and began the process of constructing a new facility, he said a number of brand name petroleum companies "all knocked on the door and they all made a proposal."
But, ultimately, the best proposal came from Petro-Canada, he said.
"So that's how it kind of turned out. And maybe Petro-Can was more eager because they had a site they were closing and they didn't want to lose out."
Jennings also said that all the staff at the former Glenholme gas bar were offered an opportunity to apply for jobs at his new service centre.
And given his long-standing involvement with Chamber of Commerce organizations at various levels, as well as his participation on the former Colchester Regional Development Agency board, Jennings said he believes he has a sound record for promoting small businesses beyond his own, not trying to destroy them.
"So I'm not trying to close anybody out, absolutely not," he said. "And it's too bad it closed up but that was happening regardless of what we did. They would have closed up back in December last year if it wasn't for what we did."