New convenience store nearing completion in Wallace
© Eric Sparling – Amherst Daily News.
Three weeks after construction began the new Ultramar gas station and convenience store in Wallace is nearing completion. The new outlet will replace one destroyed by fire last December.
WALLACE – Denise Darragh is in countdown mode.
The Wallace resident is watching construction of the community’s new Ultramar gas station and convenience story with anticipation of its reopening by July 1.
“We all have our fingers crossed that it will be ready for the first of July. I can’t wait to get back to work,” said Darragh, who was thrown out of work when a December fire destroyed the former gas station and convenience store. “This is going to make things a lot easier for everyone in Wallace.”
Since the fire, residents have been forced to drive to either Pugwash or Tatamagouche for gas and convenience items, although the local Home Hardware is selling materials like milk and cigarettes while construction of the new store continues.
“It’s been awful. Anytime someone’s going to Tatamagouche they would text their friends and neighbours to see if anyone needed anything,” she said. “You would burn $10 in gasoline to drive to Tatamagouche or Pugwash to get $5 of gas for your lawnmower. The owner of the Home Hardware has been helping out by stocking some convenience items but even he’s looking forward to the new store opening.”
For a while it looked as though Ultramar wasn’t going to support the project. Darragh said a community rally in February helped the gas company change its mind, although its not investing any money in the project. It has agreed to sign a long-term lease with owners Kevin and Amy Ouderkirk.
“Kevin and Amy deserve so much credit. They have taken this on themselves and are doing this because the community needs it,” said Darragh, who used to own the business before selling it to the Ouderkirks last summer. “They really are great people. If I were in their shows I don’t know if I would have the spunk or motivation they have.”
The Ouderkirks are financing the project themselves.
Kevin Ouderkirk said construction is progressing on schedule and he’s looking forward to getting back in business.
“The new store will have everything the old one had and hopefully a little more,” he said. “We’re looking forward to finishing construction and having it open in a couple of weeks. Our goal is still to have it done by July 1.”