I’ve lived in Entwistle all my life. In that time, I’ve seen many a project come forward, and many old ones torn down. So, it’s only natural that I would eventually have my own plans for the town. There are things I’d like to build, or at least see them be built. Every time I walk through the town, I pass every vacant lot and see another possibility. And the one that constantly comes to the fore is what to do with Entwistle’s gas station.
We have a humble little Esso which services the town. It sits right on the Yellowhead highway. It is exactly halfway between Edmonton and Edson, meaning it gets a lot of traffic. In fact, they often boast of being the busiest gas station on the Yellowhead. But, for all my life, I’ve seen the Esso constantly mismanaged. They have a full kitchen, but they do nothing in the way of having a snack counter. The store shelves are constantly left bare.
Instead, what you get is price gouging. They take advantage of the fact that they are the busiest to jack up gas prices to the maximum. I’ll never forget one summer, when they were charging $2 for a bottle of pop. I’ve often looked at the Esso and thought, “There must be a better way.”
My better way tends to be demolishing the place.
You think that’s a little extreme, but hear me out. Rather than the humble little gas station/convenience store/never-used kitchen, I think it would be much better if there were a full rest stop; a proper place for a weary traveller to gas up, grab some munchies for the road, and continue on their way.
So I buy it. Tear it down. And in its place, I build this massive, wonderful haven for travelling folk. But now, the question of what goes inside.
It goes without mention that we keep the convenience store. Pop kept nice and cold, a wide array of chips and chocolate bars, and, of course, some of the essentials that a traveller may require. And, of course, we keep everything at a reasonable price. None of this $2 for a bottle of pop. However, a store special where it’s 2 bottles for $2…now we’re onto something.
But my mind keeps going back to that little-used-kitchen. It’s time we put that to work. Granted, I don’t think my traveller’s haven needs a restaurant. Entwistle’s already got three very good restaurants. Don’t want to put them out of business. Instead, we start looking at franchise possibilities.
How many times have you seen this? A Petro-Canada with an A&W. Grab a Teen Burger for the road. A Shell with a Pizza Hut Express. A Mohawk with a Subway. It’s perfect! Not a full blown restaurant. Something more akin to a kiosk that you find a in a food court. Just enough for the wanderer who wants something fresh and/or hot in their tummy.
And coffee! Must have coffee!
I also have, perhaps, the most radical idea of all. The Greyhound also stops in Entwistle. Or Evansburg. But, there has never been a proper bus station in Entwistle. Sometimes, the bus stops at one of the restaurants. Sometimes it stops at the general store. Currently, it stops at Evansburg’s used book store. A proper bus station would be an asset to this community.
So let’s put it in my rest stop! We could set aside a corner for a Greyhound counter, and I’d hire a full time staff member to operate it. They can sell the tickets and look after the various packages that come in with Greyhound courier service. We could have a little waiting area; just a few tables and chairs. It can share space with my food kiosk.
And that’s my plan for Entwistle. It’s the busiest gas station on the Yellowhead, so let’s look a little more professional here. There’s better ways to make more money rather than just jacking up the price.
And if I can’t get my hands on the Esso, well, there’s a nice little parcel of land in Wildwood that can do. We’ll give the Esso a run for its money.