Michigan, USA – While the automotive giants and industry big houses are off begging for bail-out funds, real business leadership, entrepreneurship, and innovation are busy finding new ways to better serve customers. Ask John Abbo, owner of Mobil station at Clyde Road and U.S. 23 in Hartland Township, who has transformed the gas station into a convenient one-stop-shop.
"The general trend is consumption of petroleum has gone down; it has affected our industry a lot," Abbo said. "We're fortunate that we were able to do the different type of things that we did, like put in a new grill, and we've now converted the store into a market. Gas stations aren't what they used to be."
Abbo has expanded offerings at his 5,000-square-foot station, which he now refers to as the "Hartland General Store," including adding a full liquor collection, expanding Hartland Express Pizza into a grill and selling Michigan Department of Natural Resources hunting and fishing licenses on site. Frozen foods, a deli and other offerings are also included in the renovations, which are expected to wrap up within the next month or so.
In all, Abbo said, he's poured nearly a quarter of a million dollars in improvements.
When other businesses have fallen to their hands and knees over the economic slow down, Abbo wisely returns to basic business principals.
"It's scary to think how much money we're spending in this economy, but it's the right thing to do," Abbo said. "Every little department we can possibly have, we'll have. My main theme is to be a destination location."
The store carries hundreds of liquors and an additional 150 varieties of beer. The liquor racks extend upwards to the ceiling, which will soon be a common sight among all the store's shelves. "We don't have more space to go out, so we're going up," Abbo said.
The move makes sense, Abbo noted, saying the closest grocery stores are on M-59 and in Fenton, roughly 3.5 and 9 miles away, respectively.
"We're kind of tucked away to ourselves and it's really convenient for people," he added.