CHATHAM — Next month, Charlene Brown will be able to fill up her 2009 Pontiac G6 at the Shell gas station near her home for the first time since 2011.
"I don't get off work until 11 p.m. and when I do get off I am tired and don't feel like driving around to find a safe place to stop for gas," said Brown, 47, who lives in the 8600 block of South State Street. "Having the ability to get gas up the street and pick up a few items would be a big plus."
Owner Azam Kham plans to reopen his Shell gas station at 8659 S. State St. on March 16 after it closed two years ago. The renovated station will be open 24 hours a day and will have four additional pumps, bringing the total to 10. In addition, Kham has doubled the size of a convenience store at the site, to 2,000 square feet, and plans to sell more food as well as household items like soap, toilet tissue and paper plates.
"Customers can come inside to pay for their purchases and not stand outside as they did before," Kham said. "They can buy household products, snacks and other items."
But the convenience store will not be selling lottery tickets, he said.
"I do not plan on getting a lottery machine unless it is something the community later says it wants," Kham said. "I want to offer services the community needs."
Additionally, he plans to house two retail tenants at the site.
"I expect to have a restaurant and a bakery," added Kham, who also owns another Shell gas station in Bridgeport at 215 W. 31st St.
Kham said he had hoped to reopen the station last year, but was slowed by the permitting process and city inspections.
Susan Massel, a spokeswoman for the city's Department of Buildings, said Kham applied for a permit on March 19 of last year and received it by September 25.
Local resident Lewis Sanders said she was excited about the reopening.
"That's a lot of space it is taking up, and I am interested to see what convenience items will be sold there," said Sanders, 46, who lives in the 8700 block of South State Street. She said she hopes to be able to buy sandwiches there because another local gas stations does not offer them.