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    Sheetz to Continue Rapid Expansion in West Virginia

    Two new locations are under contract, with talks for five others nearing completion.

    CHARLESTON, W. Va. -- West Virginia residents will be seeing more Sheetz convenience stores popping up in the coming years as the Altoona, Pa.-based retailer aims to open six new stores in the state each year for the foreseeable future.

    Currently, Sheetz operates 44 convenience stores in West Virginia. David Hazelet, real estate manager at Sheetz Inc., told the Charleston Daily Mail that the company has two additional sites under contract -- one in Beckley and one in Ripley -- and negotiations are nearly complete for five other locations.

    Those five sites are located in towns along the Interstate 77 and Interstate 79 corridors. However, not every county -- notably Kanawha County -- will be getting a new Sheetz store. A main hurdle for locating a new store, Hazelet said, is finding flat, easily accessible land. The retailer needs space for multiple gas pumps, one or two drive-thrus, indoor and outdoor seating areas, and an indoor kitchen.

    The real estate manager told the news outlet that publicity surrounding Sheetz' West Virginia expansion has led to several phone calls about potential sites.

    "It's a big state and we think there's a lot of opportunity there yet," Hazelet said. "We would like to get enough land lined up so we could schedule a half-dozen new store openings a year in West Virginia."

    Construction on the new Beckley store is slated to begin next spring. Construction on the latest Ripley location will commence in 2015.

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