Wilmington’s gas station closing

Wilmington’s only gas station will close in less than a week.

An employee at the Wilson Farms convenience store and Sunoco gas station confirmed that the business will close its doors next Tuesday, April 9. The employee declined to discuss the matter further and directed the Enterprise to 7-Eleven’s corporate office. 7-Eleven purchased Wilson Farms Neighborhood Food Stores in May 2011.

A spokeswoman for 7-Eleven told the Enterprise that she “didn’t have enough information” to comment on the closure as of Wednesday evening, but she would have more details within 24 hours.

“You didn’t know it was happening unless you went to the store,” Wilmington resident Michelle Hozley told the Enterprise. “We got a month’s notice.”

Hozley said the closure will be a hardship for Wilmington residents, especially the older population. Al Armstrong, owner of the Mountain Brook Lodge, agreed.

“We get thousands of visitors who come every summer, especially the motorcyclists,” Armstrong said. “They come into Wilmington on fumes.”

Armstrong added that residents who rely on kerosene to heat their homes would often purchase fuel at Wilson Farms.

The closure means Wilmington residents will need to drive about 12 miles to Lake Placid or about 5 miles to Jay to get their gas.

Wilmington town Supervisor Randy Preston said he’s not sure what led to the closure, but noted there is an “unresolved gas spill” at the site that involves three parties: 7-Eleven, which owns the business itself; Phil Saunders, who owns the property; and Schmitt Sales, a fuel company out of western New York that owns the gas.

“The trio, together, doesn’t play out well,” Preston said. “Sadly, we’ve tried to reach out to people to get answers, and quite frankly, they’ve never been like a Stewart’s Shop – where Stewart’s is really a community player; they give back. We’ve never been able to get (the owners of this station) to do anything.

“It’s certainly going to hurt us that it’s closing.”

The Enterprise tried to reach a Philip Saunders listed in the phone book at a Lake Placid address but was unsuccessful. A message was also left for a representative at Schmitt Sales.

“I do know that there are things in the works – other options,” Preston said. “Now whether they’re going to become fruitful or not, at this point, I don’t know. I do think, sooner or later, something is going to work out, I just don’t know when exactly that’s going to be.”