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Boyette plan razing Barbour's
Barbour's Save Center may be razed by Boyette Petroleum Company to make way for a Cruisers style convenience store, officials confirmed last week.

"It's on our list of things to hopefully do by the end of 2012," said Scott Castle, Boyette's vice president of retail operations. "At least to begin. We've been talking about it for five years. It's on our strategic plan for the year."

Located at the southwest corner of Mitchell Road and Whitmore Avenue, Barbour's Save Center has been a part of Ceres landscape since the 1950s. Dennis Barbour sold the three generation family enterprise to Boyette nine years ago. The filling station was remodeled in 2003 to comply with new environmental regulations.

Castle said the station needs to be made more competitive.

"We've lost some of the die-hard Barbour's folks and we're not attracting any new customers. It's performed better but it's a strong sight and we like being in the community."

Dale Boyette, president of Boyette, agreed.

"We are losing a fair amount of business from folks who just don't like the way it looks," said Boyette. "It's old and has way too much space for our needs."

If a new station is ultimately built on the new corner, it will be the third Cruisers mart for the company. Five Cruisers are also located at McHenry and Kiernan and Claus and Briggsmore in Modesto; in Riverbank at the corner of Patterson Road and Highway 108; in Salida on Broadway; and in Manteca.

The company is also remodeling a Delhi store into a 7-Eleven.

Boyette owns a total of 12 locations.

Word has been leaking out about the project and the feedback is mixed. Ceres born and raised Steve Black heard the news and said seeing Barbour's go is "a little like destroying a piece of my personal history."

"It honestly effects me emotionally thinking about this simple little gas station, which holds so many fond memories of my friends and family, being torn down," said Black. "My dad taught me how to use a gas pump there when I was growing up. I use to return the old glass Pepsi bottles there for the refunds when I was a kid so that my friends and I could buy soda and candy. I pumped my first tank of gas there as a newly licensed teenager; back then Lee Barbour was the owner and you had to pay the attendant that was working in the little booth outside."

Castle said he understands the emotions but predicted "people are going to enjoy it."

Boyette noted "other projects have got in the way" but wants to get something submitted to the city by next winter.