New construction is planned at the former “Harris’s” location
Pictured is Ethan Henderson of AMS Energy with the Angelica village board
By Michael L. Whitney
With no place to buy gas and few options other than Dollar General, Anglicans were happy to hear that a new convenience store and gas station is in the works! A special town meeting on September 21st brought together a Standing Room Only crowd of local folks looking to find information on the business coming to town!
Ethan Henderson, a member of AMS Energy Technologies LLC was on hand to answer questions on the new development coming to town. One of the first questions asked was “why Angelica” to which Henderson answered, “because it feels a lot like home”. He also explained that his company had been scouting for new areas to move into and found the former “Harris’s” store up for sale. Henderson made the trip to Angelica and saw a need for the people of this little community. He contacted the Village of Angelica Board, and a plan was set in motion. Henderson purchased the former gas and grocery building and is working on getting all the necessary permits needed to raze the building and construct an entirely new state-of-the-art business. Henderson went on to explain that, unlike other gas stations, the new Angelica station will feature above-ground tanks. Henderson went on to explain that this new technology has not been utilized in the US for very long at consumer-based locations with only 22 stores located around the United States. His company, AMS owns the exclusive U.S. retail rights for a patented portable, above-ground fueling station (“PAGS”) that is EPA, NFPA and UL approved.
Henderson then went on to address the closing of the local branch of Community Bank in Angelica at the end of this month, and the hardships that it will bring to the community. He explained that he is working with an outside entity that he declined to mention because they were unavailable to make the meeting to bring in some sort of banking access. He assured the townspeople that no matter what the entity was, it would not be just an ATM stating that deposits, as well as withdrawals, would be available. He even went as far as to say that the possibility of a real-life person could be possible on a limited basis at the location! This revelation was met with loud approval from all people present.
At this point the floor was opened to discussion and questions and as one could expect there were many. As always, the “look” of the business was a concern because Angelica is proud of its historic buildings and wanted to feel that this new business would do its best to fit in. Henderson assured everyone present that the small building (around 12.000 sq feet) could be “dressed” in a way that it would fit in with that history! Other concerns were answered as well. Would they serve food, yes, there would be a small kitchen available to meet the needs of both travelers and locals but also stated that this would not be a sit-down establishment.
When asked How would it affect other businesses in town? Henderson again assured all that they had no plans to “drive” other small businesses out and that he was planning on meeting with these businesses to provide a working environment that would benefit all. Several people mentioned that Dollar General was a great addition to our town but there were several ways that this new store could also fill in where they lacked in variety and options! There was also mention of the local Amish population and the need for items such as kerosene and some limited building supplies. At this time the village board responded that a questionnaire would accompany the next village and water bill looking for suggestions on what the community felt would best serve them in this and all other areas.
A major question on everyone’s mind was the timeframe in which this would all take place. Henderson replied that as soon as all governmental hurdles were met that he planned on breaking ground by the first frost and at least having the groundwork in place by the first of the year! Again, this was met by loud agreement by all present.
When open the plan is to provide at least 3 full-time jobs and several part-time jobs depending on need. He stated that these positions would be filled from within the community which is a welcome addition in these times.
Everyone who attended the meeting had a very positive response to this new venture and left the meeting feeling that Henderson was not just in it for the buck but, had a genuine interest to work with the community and was open to all suggestions and/or concerns that could arise in the future. As a member of the community along with all the others present, I look forward to finally being able to purchase gas and get a cup of coffee and other items without having to travel to Belfast, Belmont, or other towns! It was also noted that there would be more informational meetings as plans progressed to reality!