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Gas station owners finding new ways to make revenue

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Posted at 5:42 PM, Mar 16, 2022

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — Kentucky retailers say there is a revenue shift happening at gas stations and convenience stores. As gas prices continue to rise, many of these stores are looking for new ways to get customers in the door.

Silver Streak Market owner, Debbie Morris says within the last year, she bought the property for her and her family.

"People say, ‘What are you crazy? What made you do that?’ And you know I grew up in the neighborhood store."

So, she created her own. Her store isn't a typical gas station. The general store also has a restaurant and is a short drive from the Lexington Airport. Being a smaller shop, Morris says she works to compete with larger chains' gas prices.

"I just got 3,000 gallons last week. It was $12,000 to get 3,000 gallons of gas."

That's $4,000 more than she paid just a few weeks ago. With so many additional costs, like shipping fees, EPA's, and gas taxes, Morris estimates she makes back around $0.10 for every gallon sold.

Morris says, "As a little guy it’s really hard for me to play that game. And so, I match."

Most other stores rely on other revenue. Leaders at the Kentucky Retail Federation say most convenience store owners rely more on in-store sales, than sales at the pumps.

Steven McClain with the Kentucky Grocers and Convenience Store Association, says, "It's easy to think that with higher gas prices that the convenience store owner and operator is making...profit off of it. When in reality gas for a lot of them is a small component of what their profit is."

Higher prices at the pumps ultimately results in less foot traffic in-stores.

Morris wants people to know the profit margins are tight.

"That's why all the pieces of the puzzle between the restaurant, the beer sales," says Morris. "Then the everything else we have here and then the gas, all of that together hopefully, brings you to a profit at the end of the month."