Sheetz Stymied in Bid to Build in Summit County, Ohio

The convenience retailer, however, is undertaking a new build in Lehigh Valley, Pa.

March 27, 2023

ALEXANDRIA, Va.—Sheetz hoped to turn an empty hotel in the village of Boston Heights, Ohio, between Cleveland and Akron, into its newest location. The Pennsylvania-based retailer has abandoned those efforts.

According to the Akron Beacon Journal, the proposal “called for six fuel pumps and 42 parking spaces along the northern end of the property for cars, plus a car wash and a convenience store.” The controversial element of the plan was on the south end of the lot, which would have had a separate fueling facility for large trucks and 38 truck parking spots.

The new Sheetz location would have generated more than three dozen full- and part-time jobs. In 2022, a representative of the proposed development wrote to village officials that "Sheetz views its mixed-use redevelopment as not only a sound private investment, but as one that should complement existing uses and promote positive future development.”

Residents opposed to the development cited pollution, crime, declining property values and the worry that additional similar facilities would open in the area.

In reality, NIMBY attitudes prevent progress. NACS offers a Site Approval Toolkit to help retailers navigate the crucial early steps of development.

In the upcoming April issue of NACS Magazine, Renee Pas explores permitting pitfalls. She offers four tips for overcoming objections:

  • Start a two-way conversation. Before aggressively selling your project to the community, take the time to understand the community and what will be required to gain the approvals you need.
  • Plan talking points. Explain your company’s values and how a similar project benefited another community.
  • Understand the community’s growth plan. Often, local governing bodies outline their vision for growth and development. Align your project with that vision.
  • Recognize that project approval is not the end game. Once a project is approved, the real journey begins. Your focus shifts to ensuring both the success of that specific store and future site approvals.

Separately, Sheetz is constructing a new build in Allentown, Pa. It will be the eighth Sheetz in the Lehigh Valley.