Discount gas planned for Avon’s Wal-Mart complex
To save some money, Avon resident Erik Johansen always fills up at the same gas station in Vail. The reason? They give locals a 10 percent discount, Johansen said.”The price of gas here is outrageous,” said Johansen, 36.This is the reason given by Magnus Lindholm, the developer of the Village at Avon, for his plans to build a discount gas station in the retail and residential development that will surround The Home Depot and Wal-Mart Supercenter in Avon. “This valley isn’t just for rich people,” said Lindholm, who in June faced some controversy over a 150-foot flagpole he put in the parking lot of the box stores. “People in this valley shouldn’t be stuck paying such high prices.”
Although he hasn’t yet drawn up any formal plans for the gas station, Lindholm said it would be located near the Wal-Mart freeway exit, on the north side of Interstate 70.”The gas will be at least 25 cents cheaper per gallon,” Lindholm said. The average price in the valley for regular gas is about $2.20 a gallon. To control the prices, the Swedish businessman said he will own the gas station. Although he owns the land were Wal-Mart and Home Depot are, Lindholm leases space to the two retailing giants. “I love competition,” said Lindholm. “Many times that I have compared prices, it’s been 40 percent cheaper at Wal-Mart Mart and Home Depot.”The gas station is part of a plan Lindholm has to bring more discount retail to the valley. In addition to Wal-Mart, The Home Depot and the gas station, he also plans a discount liquor store.
A small furor recently broke out in the valley over another businessman’s plans to open a fine wine shop in Edwards. Owners of Edwards’ three liquor stores, along with a liquor store owner in Avon, opposed the idea. They all said the area had too many liquor stores and another would give children the wrong message about drinking. The county, however, approved a license for the wine shop. The liquor store Lindholm is planning will be in a 54,000-square-foot shopping center that will be built west of Wal-Mart. Traer Creek LLC, his development company, will start construction on the shopping center in the coming months.”The restaurants and stores that will be in the new building won’t be high-priced stores either,” Lindholm said. “No luxury restaurants. But it will be good.”Attracting discount stores might mean lower rents, but Lindholm said he isn’t concerned. “When I started, I didn’t have a penny,” he said. “I’d like to help people.”And it’s not going to hurt the project,” he added. “People will want to come to it. About 2 million people pass through Wal-Mart every year. People are coming from five counties to shop there – and they will come back.”
A discount gas station could also make other gas stations in the valley lower their prices, Johansen said.”It’s a good business decision because they could do more volume,” he added.Staff writer Veronica Whitney can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 454 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Whitney writes for the Vail Daily, based in Vail, Colorado.