Oklahoma, Route 66
Time and again I’ve been completely unable to resist yammering on about the nearly endless possibilities lying dormant in abandoned old service stations. To my mind, their smallish footprint and often stylish, charming, Americana appearance make them a fine opportunity for entrepreneurs of various stripes, and every time I see one, my mind scampers off in fifteen different directions regarding prospects for their future. Happily, others are of the very same bent (and have the capital to do something about it)!
Although the population and the number of cars have increased, there’s been an 8.2% decline in the number of gas stations throughout the country from 2002 to 2012, according to National Petroleum News’ MarketFacts 2012.
Baxter Springs, Kansas
Dunham-Jones, who studies adaptive reuse of many types of buildings, said gas stations repurposed into eateries tend to be near residential neighborhoods — and many of those households do not have kids at home, she said. That makes aging gas stations, strip malls and office parks prime sites for the eateries and coffee shops where they now spend their time.
“More people are eating out. And, instead of the school as the anchor of social life, those childless households are eager for more alternatives and options of places where they can be social,” Dunham-Jones said.
It might also be noted that with many women working outside the home, fewer have the time, energy, or even inclination to cook dinner at night (alas—so sad, really), which only helps restaurants do more business today than they did in the past. That more and more people recognize the importance of supporting small, locally-owned businesses works in the favour of such new restaurants as well. One restaurant owner featured in the article noted that 90% of their business lives within walking distance.
What makes me especially happy about the article, which I found thanks to Ron over at Route 66 News, is that not only are these old gas stations chosen for prime locations, they’re selected because of their good looks. Continue reading