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Barbours replacement nears
Store/car wash combo to open
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Gary Cooksey, a Ceres High School graduate who owns his own roofing company, supervised the placement of the new steel bands atop part of the Prime Shine Car Wash. The new car wash at Mitchell and Whitmore is being packaged with a Cruisers convenience store owned by Boyette Petroleum. The business replaces Barbours. - photo by JEFF BENZIGER/Courier photo

Barbour's Save Center is but a memory now but its replacement in a Boyette Cruisers mini-mart and gas station is nearing its opening.

The 7,200-square-foot store is being constructed in conjunction with a Prime Shine Car Wash, the company's second in Ceres. The store is expected to open soon with the car wash opening to follow.

Barbour's Save Center was razed a year ago after having been a part of the Ceres landscape since the 1950s. Dennis Barbour sold the three-generation family enterprise to Boyette 10 years ago. Boyette felt that the old store building, which was crafted from an old garage, had outlived its usefulness. Company president Dale Boyette said the remodel needed to make the station more competitive since a fair amount of business was lost from "folks who just don't like the way it looked," said Boyette. He said the store was "old" and had "way too much space for our needs."

Boyette owns a total of six Cruisers locations.

Last year the Ceres Planning Commission granted permission for Boyette Petroleum to erect an oversized sign for the store. The commission felt a request for a variance from city policy of limiting business signs to no taller than six feet off the ground was warranted. The company was allowed to place a 20-foot-high sign near the corner to replace the larger 45-year-old marque sign that sat to the west.

When the company announced in 2012 that Barbour's was going to be leveled, sentiments ran high for some who have done business there for decades. However, Scott Castle, Boyette's vice president of retail operations, predicted that "people are going to enjoy it."

Homer Barbour opened his original station on Highway 99 between Whitmore Avenue and Richland Avenue in 1939. The second station opened in the 1950s and was operated by Lee Barbour. Son Dennis Barbour ran it until its sale. He died last year.