Sheetz breaks ground in Delaware and Obetz, plans about 50 stores in central Ohio

Gary Seman Jr.
ThisWeek group
ThisWeek group

Sheetz broke ground Sept. 14 in Delaware and Obetz and plans to open a dozen locations each year through 2025 in central Ohio.

Known to motorists from Ohio to the East Coast, Sheetz is a family-run chain that combines a gas station with a fresh-foods cafe and convenience store. It got its start in Altoona, Pennsylvania.

The local prototype locations are at 5238 Alum Creek Drive in south Columbus and 710 Sunbury Road in Delaware. Completion dates for construction were not available.

Both facilities will be about 6,000 square feet. The Obetz site will have diesel pumps toward the back of the facility.

Travis Sheetz, president and COO of the company, said Sheetz plans to make a $225 million investment in the central Ohio market over the next five years.

“We are not coming in lightly,” Sheetz said.

Sheetz stores are known for their made-to-order food, which patrons may select at a kiosk. Sheetz sells beer, wine and a proprietary blend of coffee and coffee drinks, plus other assorted beverages, such as milkshakes.

Nearly everything is available via drive-thru, Sheetz said.

“I think what you are getting in Columbus is our next-generation model,” he said. “It’s new; new finishes inside. It’s going to feel as much of a restaurant as a convenience store.

“We like Columbus for several reasons. We do just like the area. It’s kind of new, good infrastructure, easy to get around the city.”

Sheetz officials have tried to keep quiet about specific plans over the past several months in central Ohio, but at least one proposed location in Worthington Hills generated controversy with neighbors.

The proposed site was in the Olentangy Valley Centre on the east side of Olentangy River Road/state Route 315 in Sharon Township.

But neighbors in the Worthington Hills and Mount Air communities and officials with Aqua America said it would be too close to an aquifer, among other concerns.

Sheetz dropped the plan in late August, saying the decision was made because of the proximity to the aquifer, according to a news release sent on behalf of the company.

Reactions elsewhere have been positive.

Michael Flaherty, president of Obetz Village Council, said he recently had visited a couple of Sheetz locations in West Virginia and found them to be clean and impressive in the number of offerings.

“I think it is a welcomed addition to (the) Alum Creek corridor,” he said.

Delaware City Council on March 23 approved a planned Sheetz restaurant, drive-thru lane and gas station at 700 Sunbury Road. U.S. Route 36-state Route 37 runs along Sunbury Road.

Vacant buildings at the 4.8-acre site – which earlier housed Delaware Marina and a tobacco shop – would be razed to make room for a 6,007-square-foot building, eight gasoline pumps and 47 parking spaces.

Columbus-based Skilken Gold Real Estate Development, which is the developer for Sheetz in central Ohio, is the applicant.

Some other known sites Sheetz has targeted are on Cemetery Road in Hilliard, on Bethel Road in northwest Columbus and on Hilliard-Rome Road in west Columbus. In addition, on Sept. 16, the Liberty Township Zoning Commission tabled until November a proposal for a Sheetz at Seldom Seen Road and Sawmill Parkway.

Sheetz operates 43 locations in Ohio and 608 across Maryland, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia.

ThisWeek reporter Paul Comstock contributed to this story.

gseman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekGary