Archive for Thursday, March 8, 2007

Store reopens as Finish Line

March 8, 2007

Aku Patel said he saw opportunity across the street from a shuttered 7-Eleven store at Fairlane and Main Street.

Patel, former owner of the Ramada Inn motel in Leavenworth, thought there was a need on Lansing's Main Street for a convenience store that offered gasoline.

The 7-Eleven had closed in September 2005, after the state of Kansas purchased part of the store's parking lot to make way for a wider Main Street. To the east across Main Street, a Phillips 66 convenience store under new ownership held on but closed in 2006.

Enter Patel, who moved to Leavenworth in 1999 to run motels.

"We thought maybe this is a good location," he said.

Patel and his relative, Kishor Patel, opened Finish Line convenience store, 506 N. Main St., last week in the former Phillips 66. The store offers a traditional line of convenience store fares, including lottery tickets, beer, cigarettes, milk, bread, snacks, sandwiches and refreshments. Motorists can stop at the store and gas up their vehicles - even diesel engines.

"This is just the start," Aku Patel said. "We'll be adding more and more."

He said he and Kishor have cleaned and remodeled the store, added inventory and put up new awnings outside over the gasoline bays.

But why get into the convenience store business?

"I sold the Ramada downtown in March 2006 and needed something to do," Aku Patel said.

They'll both run the store themselves, learning the business inside and out before hiring additional help, Aku Patel said.

"I want to be the one who makes mistakes and then figures out how to fix those mistakes before I hire somebody else," he said.

The store will be open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.

He said he wasn't worried that business would lag this spring and summer while construction on Main Street takes place outside. The area will still get plenty of traffic, from inside and outside of Lansing. But he did say he hoped Lansing residents would come out and support one of the city's newest businesses.

"I hope the local people come out and support us, and tell us what they'd like to see here," Aku Patel said. "Whatever customers tell us, we can try to do those things," he said.

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