published Tuesday, July 21st, 2009

RaceWay gas, food chain opening trio of stores


by Brian Lazenby

Three new RaceWay convenience stores and gas stations in the Chattanooga area that are under construction should open this fall.

The stores are being built at 405 Signal Mountain Road, 459 Amnicola Highway and 5455 Hixson Pike. They are expected to be completed in a few months and should add about 15 new jobs in the area.

"We have a strong customer base in and around Hamilton County and we want to build on this foundation," said Phil Gura, RaceWay spokesman. "Our strong customer base in Chattanooga is the reason we are building more stores this year in Chattanooga than in any other city."

The multimillion-dollar expansion will almost double Raceway's presence in the area.

There already are RaceWays at 2720 Rossville Blvd., 7019 Highway 153 in Hixson, 9208 Lee Highway in Ooltewah and 707 Highway 299 in Wildwood, Ga.

Vincent Donroe-Wells, a spokesman for RaceTrac, Raceway's parent company, declined to release the cost of the expansion or any specifics about the new stores.

According to a company statement, each of the stores will have "an attractive masonry" exterior and a "consumer-focused" interior.

"The product offering is solely up to the operator, thus allowing the store to reflect the community," Mr. Gura said. "Tailoring our look and products to the community is a key to RaceWay's success."

RaceTrac stores are company owned and operated, but RaceWay stores, like the ones being built here, are leased to a third party known as a "contract operator."

Mr. Donroe-Wells said RaceTrac is still looking for contract operators for the three stores, but the lack of operators should not delay their opening.

"We will open the store once the build-out is completed," he said.

Anyone selected as a contract operator is required to make a $50,000 deposit within three days of being selected and an initial investment is $100,000 to buy equipment and inventory.

Anyone interested in becoming a contract operator should call (800) 688-6199, ext. 0 or visit www.racewaystores.com.

RaceWay has 40 stores in Tennessee and more than 275 in the Southeast.

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