Edison Oil seeks to rebuild at old Stop-N-Shop site
Many islanders remember the old Citgo Stop-N-Shop gas station one half mile east of the Center on Pine Island Road. The Stop-N-Shop building has been abandoned since shortly after Hurricane Charley. Recently, Edison Oil announced its plans to tear down the old building and build a new station on the same property.
“The Stop-N-Shop was one of the stations Edison Oil serviced before Hurricane Charl-ey,” Edison Oil Vice President Walter Eakins III said. “The building sustained some damage from Hurricane Charley and the owner asked if we were interested in purchasing the property.”
Edison Oil made the purchase and applied for a development order to renovate the store. The company removed the old gasoline pumps, in-ground tanks and piping before the economy crashed and the project was put “on hold.”
“There was some soil contamination and that was removed and replaced with clean soil,” Eakins said. “We should be getting the ‘all clear’ from Florida Department of Environmental Protection any day now.”
The old building will be torn down and a new 4,000-square-foot facility will be built. The building will be a solid concrete structure to withstand hurricanes and also give it a “long-term life.” The canopy will be built to withstand 200 mph winds.
Edison Oil was started by Eakins’ grandfather during the oil embargo of the 1970s.
“My grandfather, Walter Eakins, was born and raised in Iowa until he joined the Air Force,” Eakins said. “After the service he worked in the ports for Union ’76 in Miami. During the oil embargo of the 1970s, they offered my grandfather an opportunity to own a distribution plant in Fort Myers and that’s where it all began. I am the third generation.”
When Edison Oil began in 1974, Union 76 was the only brand offered. Through the years, Eakins said his family has come to understand the importance of offering only the top brands in the industry: Marathon, Shell, ’76 and Gulf. They are undecided which brand will be offered at the new location.
“We did an eagle mitigation plan and apparently there’s an eagle’s nest near the old Bank of America building,” Eakins said. “We’ll have construction limits and will follow a building schedule that doesn’t interfere with the eagles. There’s a lot of green space in the rear of the property and if the eagles can be seen from the new station, I’d like to build an eagle observation area. I’d also like to set up a farmer’s market for local growers.
“The large companies run a ‘canned’ store,” Eakins said. “Our store will be built for the people of Pine Island. This is our home, this is our area, and all of our stores are operated for the community they serve. We are scheduling a presentation at the Greater Pine Island Civic Association possibly at their December meeting.”