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Commercial projects looming on Ceres' horizon
Dutch Bros starts in Ceres
Dutch Bros Coffee is the first new building to appear pop up on the former Kmart property. - photo by Jeff Benziger

Lots of new commercial projects are taking shape in Ceres and will be part of the local economy in the coming new year.

One of those projects – mostly visible when traveling on the freeway – is a new 5,300-square-foot Circle K store that will feature Pizza Hut and Jamba Juice. Located at 1212 Joyce Avenue at the northbound freeway off-ramp for eastbound Hatch Road, the station will be a Union 76 dealer. Also on the site being constructed is a 1,530-square-foot Express Car Wash.

The project is expected to be completed this spring. Elk Grove dentist Devan Dalla broke ground on his project in April.

The new store is located in the unincorporated area of Stanislaus County but within the Ceres sphere of influence meaning that eventually it will be annexed to the city of Ceres.

Blocks away work has started on the commercial revamping of the former Kmart property on Hatch Road. Dutch Bros coffee has the first of many buildings up at the site.

The Dutch Bros. coffee building is 950 square feet and will feature a drive-thru operation and 13 parking spaces. It is located immediately west of the Kmart building.

In October 2021 the city approved a development plan to allow Evergreen Devco, Inc. to turn the former Kmart building of 84,000-square-feet into a Public Storage self-storage facility while also filling the former parking lot with a Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers and Quik Stop convenience store and gas station.

Public Storage also plans to build four additional buildings around the Kmart building sized at 2,481, 2,481 5,041 and 22,121 square feet, for a total storage area of 116,624 square feet.

A 3,267-square-foot Raising Cain’s will be located close to Hatch Road on 1.38 acres with a drive-thru operation and 83 parking spaces.

A 5,828-square-foot Quik Stop building and gas island is planned to be constructed east of the existing bus stop along Herndon Avenue. The Quik Stop building will be sized for an additional retail use. 

Two other parcels have not been claimed by any specific businesses but are earmarked for a 2,500-square-foot restaurant with drive-thru; as well as a 1,500-square-foot oil change shop.

An economic impact study of the proposed development indicates that the project will be valued at $20 million when completed with the potential to bring the city over $37,000 in annual property tax revenue alone and over $119,000 in sales tax revenue and more than $10,000 in sales tax revenue generated by what the employees of those businesses will spend in Ceres.

Rod Collins of Evergreen Devco said his company wanted to re-tenant the Kmart building for retail use and while they came close to snagging Sprouts Farmers Market, the company wasn’t interested.

“The building is a little bit obsolete from a retail perspective these days, and unfortunately we planned to try to put a market in there but they turned it down,” said Collins. “The big box retailers in COVID just weren’t doing deals. Their interest is starting to shrink … and to endure 84,000 feet became very difficult to do.”

Six months into the effort, Public Storage expressed interest. While it wasn’t the kind of use desired, Collins said placing new businesses along the Hatch Road frontage makes the project more attractive to the community.

“It’s different, certainly, from what we were expecting but given the state that we are in these days in the retail world, I think it’s a very good result.”

In October Ceres Planning Commissioner Bob Kachel asked Collins why Quik Stop would want to locate on the corner of an intersection where two gas stations already exist, one being Chevron at the southwest corner and 7-Eleven to the northwest. Collins replied that gas stations are typically the companies who can “pay the high premiums” to be on busy corner lots and Quik Stop was interested.

He added that it’s not uncommon to see gas stations on multiple corners of a busy intersection and often they foster price competition.

Raising Cane’s first opened in 1996 in Baton Rouge, La., and has recently expanded into the Bay area and the Central Valley market with restaurants in Manteca, Fresno and Tulare. Locations are planned for Berkeley, Hayward, Citrus Heights, Elk Grove and Stockton. The restaurant serves chicken fingers, French fries, coleslaw, and Texas toast.

At Ceres’ southern end, work continues on the Ceres Gateway Center where Starbucks and Chipotle have opened. In-N-Out Burger is nearing its opening and right behind it is an Ono Hawaiian BBQ.

Construction is also taking place on a Quick Quack Car Wash.

The second phase of the center is expected to include a 56,000-square-foot Woodspring Suites extended stay hotel of 122 rooms as well as retail buildings for three junior anchors.

Circle K construction
A new Circle K mini-mart is taking shape east of Highway 99, seen here from the Hatch Road off-ramp.