By ROGER AMSDEN, LACONIA DAILY SUN
ASHLAND — It was a case of Racing Mart Fuels to the rescue last week as the new owners of the former Cumberland Farms store on Main Street moved up their planned opening to Friday in order to order to accommodate people who want to buy gas locally.
With gas pumps at both the Irving and Mobil stations located just off Exit 24 from Interstate 93 shut down and the closing of the Cumberland Farms pumps last Wednesday there was no place in town for locals, or tourists for that matter, to buy gasoline.
"All the people who saw us in the store wanted us to open as soon as possible," said Devyani Patel, who with her husband, Pev, are managing the Racing Mart Fuels store. She said they had not planned to open for another week, but once they heard the requests for a place where local customers could gas up, they decided to open last Friday.
"We've still got a lot of things we want to do in the store to make it into the place we want it to be, but we thought it was important to the town for us to open or gas pumps as soon as possible," said Patel.
Her husband said that Racing Mart Fuels has four convenience stores in Massachusetts and that his brother, Arpit, heads the family business.
"The whole family is involved in the business and we all work together to make it a success." he says. The Patels are originally from the Indian state of Gujarart, just north of Mumbai on India's west coast.
Work is underway on replacing the gas pumps and underground storage tank at the Irving station, which is expected to reopen its pumps the the second week of August. Its convenience store remain open. State legislation required all gas tanks to meet stricter standards this year.
The Mobil station’s convenience store also remains open while replacing the underground tanks and gas pumps are expected to reopen in a few weeks.
Pev and Devyani Patel opened their Racing Mart Fuels at the former Cumberland Farm store in Ashland last Friday, a week earlier than scheduled, in response to customer requests to have a place in town where they could buy gas. The town’s other two convenience store gas pumps remain closed for updating but stores are open. (Roger Amsden/ for The Laconia Daily Sun)
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