"This is our home. We built this to invest in the community," Mothershead explained about opening Express Fuel Center at the Interstate 55 Benton Exit 80. "The location is good, there is a strong customer base in the region for services we already provide and we believe the community could benefit from what we had to offer."
Of course, fuel is available. The pumps can be accessed 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Those buying fuel can pay inside during the station's operating hours of 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily or at the pump by using any major credit card, including the Express Fuel Center card. A discount is given those customers making cash payments for their gasoline inside the store during business hours.
There is regular gasoline, diesel fuel and the premium gasoline is an ethanol blend. "We do a lot of business activities related to agriculture field," explained Mrs. Mothershead. "We wanted to incorporate the ethanol-blend gasoline as one way to support the agricultural field."
Inside, the bank of windows and high ceilings give an open, airy feeling to the interior. Shelves are loaded with snacks, food staples, automotive products and more.
A deli counter features meats and cheeses which can be sliced to order by the pound or for sandwiches. Already proving to be a popular is the barbecue cooked each day by the Fuel Express Center manager David Hunt with the meat topped by Hunt's "secret sauce."
Those stopping by early in the day can enjoy fresh doughnuts brought in each morning.
Patrons can choose a fountain soft drink or pick one from the refrigerated cases along the back of the store. Also available is bottled water; a cappuccino machine along the side dispenses that popular drink selection.
Alcohol is not available at the center. While this is unusual for most convenience stores, the Mothersheads explained they believed this was best for the community and with the close location to the school.
Being community-oriented is key to their business, the Scott County couple agreed. The station's staff took part in Kelly Schools' Teacher Appreciation Week by providing special coupons and complementary snacks. The store also hosted the Kelly FFA chapter's car wash which provided free car washes for the school teachers.
For those who don't want to get out of their car for a sandwich, snack or soft drink, service is available at a drive-through window.
Breaking ground on the center last fall, the business began operating in mid-April. Looking across the grounds, Mothershead said the business layout is designed for ease of traffic flow for cars and trucks. Additional parking is planned for large trucks.
Mrs. Mothershead laughs recalling it isn't just cars and trucks who find the station convenient. Recently she watched a horse and rider approach the station, the rider tied his horse to the fence, bought a soda then saddled back up to continue his ride.
"I guess we are convenient for horses, too," she said with a smile.
A picnic area is being developed where those stopping for lunch or dinner can relax and enjoy themselves before hitting the road again. The owners pointed out there is still some "cosmetic work," such as landscaping, to do and future business developments are planned around the property as well.
A grand opening for the business is scheduled for middle to late June.
Express Fuel Center employs six full-time workers. The station's general manager is assisted by Louise Hayden and Sonya Gallaway, assistant managers.
Mothershead said he likes to think of his new business venture fulfilling the company's mission: "Local folks serving local people."