Barry Ehrlich buys fuel Thursday at the Clark Store. The store is shutting down its gas operations next week.

Photo by Scott Franz

Barry Ehrlich buys fuel Thursday at the Clark Store. The store is shutting down its gas operations next week.

Clark Store to end fuel service

Hahn’s Peak Roadhouse will become North Routt’s only full service gas station

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— As he refueled his Jeep at the Clark Store on Thursday, Barry Ehrlich said he was glad the pumps outside the decades-old establishment weren’t dry just yet.

“I’m glad the pumps are still here today because I was running pretty low,” said Ehrlich, who was traveling from Steamboat Springs to Steamboat Lake to cross-country ski when he pulled into the gas station with less than one-eighth of a tank’s worth of gas left in his SUV.

But soon, the pumps won’t be there.

Ehrlich pumped out a small portion of the final 1,900 gallons of unleaded, premium and diesel fuel that will be sold from the Clark Store as it prepares to permanently shut down its fuel operations next week.

Clark Store manager Casey Bork said Thursday that her market no longer could afford to run its pumps that customers like Ehrlich use as an emergency source of fuel when their vehicles run low on gas somewhere along picturesque Routt County Road 129 between Steamboat and Hahn’s Peak. After the pumps close, the Hahn’s Peak Roadhouse, which is about seven miles north of Clark and 26 miles north of Steamboat Springs, will be the only full service gas station in North Routt.

“It is not economically feasible for us to be filling up our gas tanks here anymore,” Bork said. “The cost is too great to keep us in compliance” with state and federal regulations.

Bork said she already has heard complaints from customers about the closure, but she said others understand the economics of the decision. She added that the average gas ticket from the station in Clark is only $10.

“People here would rather have a Clark Store with no gas rather than having no Clark Store at all,” she said. “Not having gas will affect a little bit of sales, but we will still have our post office and all of our other services.”

Those services include a deli and grocery store, which Bork said likely will undergo a remodel and update sometime this spring, and a liquor store.

“We’re hoping to make up for taking the fuel away,” she said. “We know the winter will be tough, and we do feel bad because there are a bunch of snowmobilers and residents who rely on this place to get fuel.”

Clark resident Gina Britton said the gas stoppage will negatively impact the community.

“I’m really disappointed the pumps are closing,” she said. “People come up here to fill their snowmobiles, their ATVs, boats and RVs with gas. I depend on this station to add gas to my motorcycle in the summer and the equipment on my ranch.”

She added that having to drive the seven miles north to Steamboat Lake to get gas or 18 miles south into Steamboat will be an inconvenience.

Unleaded gas was $3.69 a gallon at the Clark Store on Thursday afternoon, and $4.19 a gallon for diesel. Bork said the fuel will be sold until it runs out, which she expects to happen by Sunday. She said the store will discount the fuel by 20 cents a gallon in anticipation of the pump closure.

Unleaded fuel at Hahn’s Peak Roadhouse, which is off C.R. 129 about a mile before Steamboat Lake, was $3.56 a gallon Thursday. Diesel was $3.87. The station is open 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. seven days a week.

“I feel for everyone who counts on the Clark Store for gas, and it has saved me several times on my way into (Steamboat),” Hahn’s Peak Roadhouse owner Carroll Zamzow said. “We want to let people here know they can count on us for fuel, and we’ll keep fair gas prices that are competitive with prices” in Steamboat.

To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210 or email scottfranz@SteamboatToday.com

Comments

sledneck 2 years, 9 months ago

"The cost is too great to keep us in compliance with state and federal REGULATIONS"

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Scott Wedel 2 years, 9 months ago

Yeah, well making sure that gas is not leaking from underground tanks isn't free.

Ask the neighboring property owners if they'd agree to waive the regulations if it might keep the gas station open. We would find out pretty quickly what ranchers think of potential groundwater contamination.

Groundwater contamination is not some theoretical risk. Quite a number of gas stations had leaks and the Western in SB just had to do a clean up from a leak.

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sledneck 2 years, 9 months ago

What was the specific requirement that the store was up against?

Is there fuel leaking right now? Has fuel leaked? Or is there just some unnecessary or premature upgrade that is being forced on this establishment? Articles like this (and they are numerous) make me wonder if the Pile-it even really wants people to know the whole truth. Do they want to skirt an issue of over-regulation killing another business? Do they want to avoid telling people there is possible groundwater contamination? Or are journalism degrees dispensed with the same scrutiny as high school diplomas these days? I honestly can never tell.

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Scott Wedel 2 years, 9 months ago

I have no reason to believe there is any leak or contamination.

The trouble with this sort of issue is that measures to prevent or quickly detect leaks can be viewed as unnecessary or premature until there is a leak and then it becomes essential and overdue.

Gas stations contaminating groundwater is a real problem so steps taken to prevent that hardly seem unwarranted. Other stations are able to comply so it hardly seems that the regulations are obviously unfair.

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exduffer 2 years, 9 months ago

Mom and pops are closing all over the state and country SW. Take a ride to Centennial, WY, just make sure you have a full tank.

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Scott Wedel 2 years, 9 months ago

Yes, the regulations are not easy, but look how quickly Western Fuels detected a bad line and got it fixed and cleaned up. It was the sort of situation that weak regulations might not have quickly caught. Certainly, the history of gas stations shows that some stations leaked for many years.

At least the regulations for gas stations are to the point and appear effective. Not like various gun regulations that exempt this and that so they don't really stop anything. Or the TSA which is far more an exercise in putting on a show of providing security while any security expert recognizes massive holes. (Pretty much dependent upon trusting baggage handlers that are often enough found to be systematically stealing or smuggling drugs). Or the air marshal program that has spent a huge amount of money to once in a while have someone able to help with an unruly passenger. And it is well known the air marshal is the person that boards early and takes an aisle seat in the back of the plane.

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greenwash 2 years, 9 months ago

Pepole seem to think gas stations print money....they dont...just ask Jon Peddie.

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exduffer 2 years, 9 months ago

Part of the problem SW is how you meet those regulations. The easiest and least costly is only effective if you keep your tanks at least 30% full at least once a month. Assuming they have 3 5000 gallon tanks, that is about $20,000 in inventory that you need to have sitting. At $700 a day in fuel sales needed to avoid having product sitting around to long, this is why it is not cost effective.

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trump_suit 2 years, 9 months ago

Sure Sled, just let em' leak. After all, it's just groundwater right, who really even uses that?

Does anyone actually think that the literally thousands of gas stations across this country would ALL operate safely without regulation? Give me a break.

You are not living in the real world when you express the opinion that every single owner operator would make the "right choice" when it comes to deferring maintenance.

How many of them would decide that it is "Just a Little Leak", it won't bother anyone, I will fix it next year.

Not saying that the Clark Store has problems or issues, but I am sure they made a calculated profit driven decision that this service was not in their best interest. Could be insurance costs, regulatory costs, or simple cash flow but the bottom line is that they were not making enough profit from this business and decided to shut it down.

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sledneck 2 years, 9 months ago

Most leftists want to turn my (and all libertarians) desire for less government and less regulation into a desire for dirty water, fouled air and a general state of anarchy. Trumps opening statement above reflects that lame, old, tired tactic.

I never said ANY of the things ascribed to me and/ or in quotation marks above.

My first comment was a DIRECT QUOTE from the article and NOTHING MORE. The thrust of my second comment was that the story is woefully incomplete. It fails to impart to readers why regulations are killing this particular store's gas sales operation. It does not tell us if there has been equipment or containment failure or whether it is simply upgrade mandates begining Jan 1, 2012 that killed the operation. It was more of an attack on journalism (so-called) than on regulations.

But since that particular dog just got kicked I will add: Regulations are killing business, adding costs, slowing economic growth, and pissing people off generally; at least the ever shrinking percentage that uses a linear thought process.

The rest of the crowd expresses its anger at over-regulation differently. You see, they can't blame their own mascot (big gubbamint) so they willfully mis-direct their rage at, what for them, are more desirable and convenient targets like "big-oil" or "big pharma" or "big business" in general. They show their economic ignorance by calling for taxes on big corporations which NEVER PAY taxes; only collect taxes form consumers. They call for cleaner this and clearer that and, with righteous indignation pound their chest with their right hand while squeezing the gas pump with their left.

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Scott Wedel 2 years, 9 months ago

"My first comment was a DIRECT QUOTE from the article and NOTHING MORE."

Well, not quite true. You changed "regulations" to "REGULATIONS" with is hardly "NOTHING MORE."

And this clean water is a clear example of where regulations save money and help the overall economy because the costs of groundwater contamination exceeds the costs of the regulations. Clean water regulations allows neighboring property owners to have confidence that their groundwater will not eventually become contaminated and so they do not have to regularly spend money testing their water and digging new wells hoping to find clean water. It allows downriver cities such as Hayden to build water treatment plants without expecting a high level of pollution to filter out.

There is nothing inconsistent about liking clean water regulations and buying gas. There is nothing wrong with buying gas and expecting that product is being provided without polluting ground or surface water.

One of the major objectives of regulations is to make the source of economic costs pay those costs instead of transferring those costs to others. We have regulations on gas stations so that there are not leaks which force others to pay the costs of contamination. Since the cost of cleaning up a long term leak is so expensive, it is not practical for those dealing with the contamination to sue the gas station because the gas station is likely to become bankrupt. So we need regulations so that gas stations do not have leaks and any leaks are quickly detected so it can be cleaned up before it spreads.

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sledneck 2 years, 9 months ago

OK Scott, you got me. I give up; I admit it; I changed lower case letters to capitals. Boy you are the Sherlock Holmes of Northwest Colorado, aren't you. Can't get anything past you!

You should go into the hair care business. Not cutting... splitting. Or maybe become an attorney. They seem to have carved out an entire industry that pays a pretty good salary doing what you just did free!

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exduffer 2 years, 9 months ago

SW, for your info every time you fill up your tank you are paying for the cost of cleaning up any leak. The state of Colorado has a petroleum storage tank fund that pays for remediation. This fund is generated by a surcharge on any tanker of fuel delivered in the state. As long as you comply with all state regulations the state will pay for the cleanup minus a $10,000 deductible.

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sledneck 2 years, 9 months ago

"Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses, yearning to be regulated." --Lady Liberty "I know not what course others may take but as for me, give me regulations or give me death." --Patrick Henry "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are regulated equally, that they are ensnared by their government with certain inalienable regulations, that among these are death, taxes, and the persuit of regulatory loopholes..." --Declaration of Independance "We the people, of the United States Federal Government, in order to form a more powerful government, establish dominance, ensure domestic sub-serviance, provide for the defense industry, promote dependance on welfare, and ensure the blessings of tyranny and monopoly to ourselves and those we choose, do ordain and establish this constitution..,." --United States Constitution

How 'bout those quotes, Scott. They sound about right for ya??

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Scott Wedel 2 years, 9 months ago

Sled, Despite your claim of doing "NOTHING MORE", a more careful look shows you ALSO CHANGED THE QUOTE!

You moved the quote marks from after compliance to after REGULATIONS. Original was: “The cost is too great to keep us in compliance” with state and federal regulations. and your quote was: "The cost is too great to keep us in compliance with state and federal REGULATIONS"

So not only did you add emphasis not in the original quote. You say Barry Ehrlich said something the paper does not claim he said. He is quoted as saying “The cost is too great to keep us in compliance”.

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sledneck 2 years, 9 months ago

No fair, Scott. You have a magnifying glass and all I got for Christmas was a bucket of ashes and a stick to stirr it with.

"There's gotta be a pony in here somewhere..."

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