Gas Competition

By: A.J. Hilton Email
By: A.J. Hilton Email

It's a growing trend-- grocery stores with gas stations. Kroger just added one this year, and both L&L and Meijer stores allow people to shop and fill up. All three have incentives to keep customers shopping at their store.

Some choose stores because of convenience.

"I also look for a little special advantage of getting a few cents off with the Kroger card," said shopper Nancy Majzel.

A couple of blocks down the street from the Kroger off Holmes Road, Angel Taylor is fueling up at a Mejier gas station. The price is a bit higher, but she says she doesn't mind.

"It was just more convenient to come here," said Taylor. "You know I'm paying two cents more than I would pay just down the street."

While grocery gas stations may benefit consumers by saving them a couple of cents, gas stations independently owned are taking a big hit.

"When another retailer can sell a product you're living on for 20, 30, 40 cents below your cost, that's a huge impact," said Mobile Gas Station Owner Rich Bratchi.

Bratchi has owned the Mobile Station just off Highway 127 in East Lansing for 30 years, and says he's one of a dozen independent gas station owners still in the Lansing area. In his eyes, it's partly because of more competition.

You pay a few extra cents for gas at this Mobile gas station, compared to the other three stations that have prices around $3.15 or $3.16. Bratchi says that if it wasn't for the highway, he may be out of business.

"That's where a bulk of our customers are, especially on the weekend," said Bratchi. "People a lot of times will drive across the street or across town two, three, four, five cents a gallon."

How does Bratchi to keep his business competitive?

"We may be a few pennies more... but our goal is to build a relationship with customers," said Bratchi.

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