Traffic was a little congested Friday at the new 7-Eleven at the corner of Whitmore Avenue and Blaker Road. From 7 a.m. to 11 p.m., Union 76 gas was selling for $4.37 a gallon.
It was owner Benny Dhanda’s way of celebrating the ribbon’s grand opening which took place at 12:30 p.m. with a blast of music from a DJ, banners and the presentation of a check for $24,000 to the City of Ceres for the purchase of a new police station. Harley-Davidson motorcycle.
By the time the tape was cut at the new store at 12:30 p.m., the store had sold approximately 8,000 gallons of gasoline.
Gas was expected to resume at $5.09 a gallon.
Dhanda now has 19 service stations from as far north as Chico south to Merced. It also owns the Chevron station on Mitchell Road next to In-Shape City.
“Benny, congratulations on the store,” Ceres Mayor Javier Lopez told Dhanda. “Congratulations on the grand opening of your new facility. The City of Ceres welcomes you to the community and wishes you well with your business for many years to come.
He added that the city was grateful for the cash donation to pay for the new police helicopter.
The company also presented a check for $711 to Central Valley High School.
Brandi Meyer of the Ceres Chamber of Commerce said her group was very happy to see the new store and presented a plaque welcoming them to Ceres.
“We’re really excited to be on this side of town,” Dhanda told the crowd. “We will look forward to growing with the city.”
Kevin Ley of 7-Eleven said the area is a “great site”.
“I work for 7-Eleven corporate real estate and Benny called me and said, ‘Hey, I have this great site.’ He told me about the site and I was like, ‘Benny, I’m working on the same site!’ So I know it’s going to be good. Benny has been here for a while now; he’s one of our best franchisees and I’m proud of him like a son.
Ley later said the site is great because it can serve the Blaker Road neighborhood and Whitmore Avenue traffic, close freeway access, and “there’s nothing around for anyone to be served.”
Dhanda received approval for its Conditional Use Permit (CUP) required to construct the 4,740 square foot building in May 2019. The site has a zoning designation of Community Commercial (C-2) and a plan designation. General of Community Commercial (CC). Since the proposal is for a convenience store with a gas station, conditional use license approval was required for the project.