Popular Kennewick Gas Station Closing - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Popular Kennewick Gas Station Closing

KENNEWICK, Wash. - A popular Kennewick gas station and convenience store is closing its doors.

For the last 11 years you could fill up your car and pick up an expresso at the Grand Central Coffee Station on Clearwater Avenue. But Saturday, December 16th, the owner is closing the doors for good.

With so many people dependant on their morning mocha and gas prices popping over $2.50 a gallon. You'd think Grand Central Coffee Station would be a pulling in quite the chunk of change. But after expensive oil costs owners are making less than pennies on the dollar.

No more fresh brewed pots. No more sounds of a clicking cash drawer. Saturday at 8:00 p.m. owners will close Grand Central. Something station staff thought would never happen.

"We all thought that it would stay open forever. You don't see something this busy and successful closing. You don't imagine that it would close," said Gail Nicolls, Grand Central Coffee Station Store Manager.   

Store sales couldn't pay the bills and the station made zero profit from the pumps. After Shell Oil took its cut remaining revenues got gobbled up in credit card processing fees.

But Grand Central isn't the only gas station being forced to close. In the past five years over 100 small Washington stations have called it quits.

"The small business sector in gasoline retailing has just been clobbered by the high prices and high wholesale prices that oil companies are charging the dealers," said Tim Hamilton, Automotive United Trades Organization.   

Just look at what the owner of the Kennewick Tesoro station on 4th Avenue pays for oil.

At his station a gallon of regular is $2.55. He pays Tesoro almost $2.51. Tack on an additional $0.085 for delivery fees and visa charges and he's paying you $.0425 a gallon to fill your tank.

"For six months we didn't make any money because our buying price is more than our selling price," said Raj Sandhu, Owner of Max Mart and Garfield Mart.  

Experts if said the cost for gas stays the same many more stations like Raj's may follow Grand Central's lead.

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