FORT LORAMIE — Casey’s General Store in downtown Fort Loramie opened its doors to the public this morning at 5 a.m.
The gas station/convenience store/sub shop/pizzaria, at 12 S. Main St., is the third of the chain to open in Ohio within the last few weeks. Headquartered in Ankeny, Iowa, the business operates almost 2,000 stores in 15 states.
It is known for its freshly made pizza. Casey’s, in fact, is the fifth largest pizza chain in the country, both in terms of sales and number of stores, according to Sam James, Casey’s director of finance.
“And we’re pushing that in doughnuts. We’re in the top 10 in doughnut sales,” he said. Cake doughnuts and pizzas are made from scratch daily in each store. Bread for subs is baked fresh and all the vegetables for pizzas and salads are shipped whole to the stores and cut up on site. The Fort Loramie store will be supplied by a distribution center in Terre Haute, Indiana.
The pizzas are made to order and also sold by the slice to walk-in customers. They can be ordered by phone, in person or online. A Casey’s app, available for Android and Apple phones, pushes coupons and games to customers.
“I had heard how good the pizza is, but until I got it, I didn’t know,” said Penny Brunk, of Union City, who manages the Fort Loramie location.
Gas customers can pay at the pump or pay inside. Casey’s is one of the few stations left at which people can pump gas without having to prepay for it.
“You can pump first and then come in to pay,” said Ben Hudson, of New Castle, Indiana, who is supervisor of the area that includes Fort Loramie.
The firm made an investment of about $3.2 million in the Fort Loramie location to construct the 4,185-square-foot store, James said. It will be open daily from 5 a.m. to midnight and when fully staffed, will have 30 full- and part-time employees.
“We’re still hiring,” Hudson said. Interested people can apply online at www.caseys.com.
While the store is operational now, it will celebrate a grand opening, all day, April 28 and April 29. On those days, customers can enter drawings to win free gasoline or free pizza for a year. Coffee will be free. People who purchase whole pizzas will be able to purchase gas at a 25-cent per gallon discount. Many items in the store will be discounted, too: Cookies and doughnuts will be 50 cents off; all fountain drinks, which usually cost from $1.09 to $1.59, will be 59 cents each; slices of pizza will cost customers $1.49 instead of $2.49.
“For people who have never tried it, it’s a great way to try a Casey’s pizza for a cheap price,” James said.
Hudson noted that many of the chain’s vendors also will offer free items during the grand opening.
“There will be balloons and probably free milk for the kids,” he said.
The giving will continue after the grand opening ends. The company has a history of community support.
“There’s lots of community programs,” Hudson said. “We have certificates of excellence that we give to schools. Schools can reward students for whatever they want. Casey’s has fundraising cards that churches and nonprofits can use.”
The firm likes to have a presence in small towns: 57 percent of its stores are in locations with populations of 5,000 or less, “which is why Fort Loramie’s community of around 1,500 people is perfect for Casey’s small-town focus,” says a company release.
Another store is scheduled to be erected this year in Jackson Center, at 307 W. Pike St.
“There will be 10 or 12 (Casey’s General Stores) in Ohio by this time next year,” said James. “We’re excited to be operating in Ohio.”