The store rescinded an agreement it made with county officials in 2010 not to open a fuel center at its Short Pump store.
When Kroger opened its new store in Short Pump in 2010, the grocer assured county residents and Henrico officials alike that it wouldn’t build an attached fuel center. In fact, it made that a promise.
But a following a vote Tuesday evening amidst a board room packed with those who spoke both in favor of and against the project, Kroger will be adding a gas station to its Short Pump store after all.
Overturning an earlier decision from Henrico County Planning Commission members, the county’s Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the addition of a gas station in front of the Kroger at West Broad Street and Lauderdale Drive at their monthly meeting.
The chain has attempted to add pumps to its more than 90,000-square-foot store since 2012.
A Kroger representative who spoke at the meeting told the Board evolving consumer preferences and demands dictated that they change their tune on adding gasoline, going so far as to say he believed customers now find their on-site centers “as as important as milk and bread.”
Public comments at the meeting were wide-ranging, from those who went on the record as saying they wished Kroger had brought in a fuel center long ago, to those, largely in neighboring communities such as the Wellesley neighborhood, who were worried about the center’s possible negative effects on pollution, traffic, and home values.
Henrico Board of Supervisors member David Kaechele, who represents the Three Chopt District and whose district includes the store, attempted to alleviate naysayers’ concerns by stating he “doesn’t believe [the gas station] will affect [their] property values.”
Once built, Kroger will offer, as it does at other area stores, incremental discounts on gasoline to its Kroger Plus Card loyalty program members based on how much they spend in-store.
The last remaining store in the West End without gas pumps will now be the company’s Gayton Crossing store.
Photo: Alison Brown