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WILSONVILLE, Ore. -- Three local gas station owners are crying foul at the prospect of a Costco gas station coming to Wilsonville.
Lee Pentecost, Jay Balding and Greg Anderson expressed fears that the Kirkland, Wash.-based discount retailer will undercut them on price, potentially running at least some locally-owned stations out of business, according to the Wilsonville Spokesman.
Fears stem from Costco's plan to build a warehouse store, complete with a gas station, in Wilsonville. The plan is currently before the town's planning board. The fuel island would include 12 MPDs, with "stacking room" for 30 more vehicles waiting in line to be served, according to a project application on file with the city.
"We're not talking equal playing fields here," said Pentecost, an independent Union 76 operator. "I've always been a proponent of equal competition. I believe in mom and pops."
But Costco is another animal, he said. The warehouse retailer relies on volume and thinner margins to drive profit. "I almost pretty much guarantee I will not survive," Pentecost said.
Balding, also an independent Union 76 dealer, claimed Costco has an unfair competitive advantage. "I can't buy that gas at the same price," Balding said. "It's the old John Paul Getty way -- just bludgeon the small guy to death."
Although many Costco stores have gas stations attached to them, this would be the first in the Portland market. The Planning Board is set to hear Costco's proposal June 24.