Gas Pumps Open: Welcome to Blake’s Fast Fuel | news

The Blue Heron gas station has been empty for more than a year. No lit pumps, no activities. When it was announced in April 2021 that Larry Paulsen had bought the station and adjacent campground, expectations grew that the station might start serving customers again. That day has finally come.

Although the Blue Heron sign is still prominently displayed above the store, the gas station has a new owner and a new name – Blake’s Fast Fuel. While the store is just a few weeks away from opening, the pumps are open for business.

“I used to come here a lot when I was younger and I always thought it was such a beautiful and practical place,” explained new owner Blake Ristine. “I was sad it was over.”

The decision to buy the station wasn’t one that Ristine had thought about; you could say it was a bit spontaneous. “One day I was driving by with the shipment of corn and saw that they had this for sale and thought I’d just see what all that entailed. I think I just went for it,” he said.

Just a few years ago, the station received an upgrade when mixing pumps were added. New signage was also installed at this time, making the store more visible to travelers along Interstate 80.

“A lot of effort, time and money was put into it just to make it stop working,” Ristine said. “And I hated to see people coming off the interstate and stopping here to try and get gas, and then the city would lose that business.”

The pumps opened on March 28 and Ristine – along with lots of help from his mum Kressy and others – is completely remodeling the store. A new false ceiling was installed and cork siding and corrugated iron were added to the walls. He hopes the work will be complete and the store will open sometime next week, but said it will most certainly be open until May 1st.

An undertaking that Blake certainly did not do alone. His partner is his wife Maddie, an occupational therapist at Gothenburg Health. He said he also gets a lot of support from his parents, Ross and Kressy. The family also has a large farming operation, and he said the timing of this project was good. A few weeks later he would have found him in the middle of planting season, and even now Ristine said he worked many long hours to get everything done.

“I just hope it turns out to be something that’s good for Gothenburg and does good for our city. It’s a lot to learn and a lot of different angles to make it work,” said Ristine.

Unlike in the past, the gas station and campsite are now two separate entities with completely different owners. The campsite, owned by Larry Paulsen, is managed by Steve Reeves. Ristine owns and operates the gas station and owns the house on the property, which he has also almost completed remodeling. His plan is to offer it as an Airbnb property this summer.

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