ELIDA — Drivers on Elida Road will now be able to stop at Casey’s General Store to fill up their tanks or grab a slice of pizza.
On Thursday, the gas station officially had its soft opening, and store manager Olivia Hinds said traffic has been great.
“I’m actually shocked,” she said. “We didn’t have any announcement that we’re open yet because this has just a soft opening and then we’ll do the grand opening next weekend so we can kind of get our wits about us.”
Nov. 1 and 2, the store will have several promotions including free coffee, discounted pizza slices and soft drinks as well as prizes and drawings.
“Casey’s is doing a $500 gift card for the grand prize winner,” Hinds said. “They used to advertise it as free gas for a year, but now we just give our gift cards to do whatever you want with it.”
That is because Casey’s has quickly become known as more than just a gas station.
“I know people are super sketchy about gas station food, but we have a full kitchen in here, and we literally make everything fresh every day,” Hinds explained. “We’ve got so much. We’re actually ranked, I believe they said number four in the U.S. in for pizza chains. For just being a gas station, only in 16 states, that kind of says something all on its own.”
Unlike other gas station chains with popular restaurants installed inside, Casey’s also operates and staffs its kitchen. Employees are cross-trained between the convenience counter and the kitchen.
Hinds, a graduate of Perry schools, started working for the franchise when the Cridersville location opened.
The Elida Road location joins the list of Casey’s quickly popping up around the area in Shawnee Township, Cridersville, Ottawa and Van Wert.
“We’re popping up like daisies everywhere,” she said of the store. “It’s something different, we have more options. We have a lot more than just running in and getting your normal pack of cigarettes and leaving.
“I think we are going to see a lot of traffic flow, even if it’s just gas transactions, that’s okay because once they come inside for the first time, they’re going to be like, ‘Yep, I’m definitely coming back here,’” she said.
The general store will be open from 4 a.m. to midnight every day.
Reach Tara Jones at 567-242-0511.