RACINE COUNTY, Wisc. ? The Journal Times reports that some local fuel retailers are focusing more on inside sales rather than fuel sales, as high gas prices and fuel-efficient cars have decreased the volume of gasoline they?re selling.
?We?re starting to see a lot more cars that get better gas mileage. They don?t have to come in as much,? said Coy Peterson, owner of the local Durand Avenue Mart.
?(People) are buying cars that they never would have in the past,? he commented. ?It?s a good thing, but not a good thing for us.?
Peterson said the move toward more fuel-efficient cars began during the last recession, and he doesn?t see the trend reversing. At a recent meeting of BP station owners, he told them to expect a 1% annual reduction in gas sales, assuming the number of stations remains constant.
?Ten percent over 10 years, that?s quite a bit,? Peterson said.
As a result, gas stations ?have been partially growing into convenience stores for many years,? newspaper notes. Tony Ioffee, owner of the local Georgetown Market, said he is working hard to build his inside sales, which were already substantial before he purchased the station last year.
?What helps a lot is we have the meat market and deli,? he said, inside the large 7,000-square-foot store. Ioffe left the corporate world to work for himself and bought Georgetown Market in December. Since then he?s installed new floors, built a larger indoor seating area and added services that attract customers, such as the ability to pay bills, purchase money orders and renew their annual license plates.
?We?re open pretty much year-round, 24/7, no exceptions,? Ioffe said, who sponsored a VIP area at the Fourth Fest fireworks and is considering adding Wi-Fi. He also offers a 3-cent-per gallon discount for paying cash for gas, a reduction that increases to 8 cents off on Wednesdays.
?That?s very, very popular,? he said.