The 32-year-old Sheetz store at 948 W. High St. has been rebuilt once and renovated a few times, but can no longer meet the customers’ needs, a corporate spokesman said.
So the Altoona-based company has launched plans for a new Sheetz, barely 200 yards up West High Street from the current store, a Sheetz official confirmed Tuesday.
“The old store has become obsolete,” said David Hazelet, director of real estate. “There is nowhere to expand.”
Owners of C&J Falchini Beer Distributor Inc. have agreed to a long-term lease on a block of lots from Triumph Street to Hemlock Street along West High Street to the Fastenal Co. parking lot, and extending back to West Ogle Street, Frank Falchini said. The beer distributor will relocate into a new building to be constructed on the other side of West High Street and extending along Park Street.
Seven existing structures will be razed for the new Sheetz and two more for the new Falchini business. They include a beauty parlor, attorney’s office and video store, which will also relocate, Falchini said. He operates the distributorship, along with his brother, Carlo Falchini, and their sister, Judette Falchini.
The new Sheetz will feature an expanded kitchen, indoor seating for 34 people and outdoor seating for 32, Hazelet said. There will be a walk-in soda cooler and 21/2 times the parking spaces of the current store.
Although there will be more fuel pumps than the current store, it won’t be as many as Sheetz stores along major highways, such as the Cambria Township location on Route 22 at Mini Mall Road just west of Ebensburg.
Plans for the new store do not include a drive-thu window or car wash now offered at the larger Sheetz stores, Hazelet said.
Construction is planned for spring of 2015, in part because highway occupancy permits often take up to nine months
for approval by PennDOT, Hazelet said.
Plans will be presented during an Ebensburg Borough Zoning Hearing Board hearing at 7:15 p.m. April 9 in the municipal building. Sheetz has requested several variances for the project.
Frank Falchini emphasized that his family’s 90-year-old business will not be shutting down. Architects are already designing the replacement building.
Founded in 1924 as a produce market by the current owners’ grandparents, Carlo and Genny Falchini, the business evolved into a beverage distributor and added an auto dealership, which later was closed.
Randy Griffith is a reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/photogriffer57.