Businesses in Bayport and Blue Point are mostly what are described as ‘mom and pop’ operations that have served the community for decades and the list includes Aladdin Fuel, the oldest gas station in Bayport.
But the two-generation, family-owned fuel company, at 806 Montauk Highway, believes its longevity will be threatened if a proposed QuickChek convenience-gas operation is given the green light to build at the corner of Snedecor Avenue and Montauk Highway, less than a block west of the 48-year-old establishment.
“We opened in 1965 and we’re what you call the mom and pop,” co-owner Brian Bergen told the Town of Islip Planning Board Thursday night during a public hearing on the QuickChek proposal.
“This store should not be opened and it will negatively impact our community,” he stated as he unrolled a nearly 20-foot long petition of resident signatures objecting to the project.
“We’ve got 1,002 signatures in opposition to this,” he said, noting that Bayport already has four gas stations operating with 68 fuel nozzles available. “With this we’ll have five and 84 nozzles within the same half-mile radius.”
The petition effort, launched about three weeks ago, was a collaborative effort by Bayport gas stations, including Coastal and Hess, and stores including Furci’s, Satellite Pizza and local delis.
The store owners aimed to send a strong message to Islip officials that the project would not only hurt mom and pop operators, but also negatively impact the character Bayport, said Bergen in a phone interview Friday morning.
“This will put all the other stations at a competitive disadvantage and it’s going to take business from every place that sells food,” Bergen said. “Everyone will lose a little bit of business.”
Aladdin Fuel sells gas as well as home heating oil. Losing the gas portion of the business will lead to the demise of the business as the cash flow is what keeps the fuel company running, said Bergen. “The gas business is essential,” he said.
But just as important, he said, is the fact that a 65,000-square-foot convenience store isn't a good fit for Bayport.
“What I question is whether people in Bayport want to be known as the ‘Gasoline Alley’ of Long Island and also the home of what will likely be the biggest gas station on Long Island,” said Bergen.
“This is huge in scale. It’s the size of a small supermarket and it doesn’t conform to the character of this small hamlet.”