Ceres Chamber of Commerce and city officials celebrated the grand opening of the remodeled 7-Eleven store at 1305 Herndon Road with the company delivering donation checks of $711 each to Tuolumne Elementary School, Ceres Police, Ceres Fire department, and Ceres High and Central Valley High schools.
The ribbon cutting event was held Wednesday afternoon and included an appearance by Mayor Javier Lopez, Chamber President Herman Bhatti and county supervisors Manny Grewal and Channce Condit.
The store has long been a part of Ceres but expanded its 2,425-square-foot footprint by another 603 square feet and added a four-pump gas island. The expansion took place after the store approved a merging of the store with its neighboring empty lot to the east.
Owner franchisee Sukhi Sandhu purchased the Ceres 7-Eleven franchise in 2002 and now has eight stores in the Valley. He learned the basics of running a gas station/store and liked the idea of going into business himself.
“I think it’s going to serve the community really well especially for those turning from west on Hatch to Herndon going to the northbound onramp for 99, and for traffic in the local community,” said Sandhu.
The extra space inside the store was required to add new categories of products, such as equipment for specialty fresh brewed, bean-to-cup coffees. The store also serves mochas and cappuccinos. Fresh cookies baked in the store are also new. Fresh blend smoothies and shakes are also sold in the remodeled store.
“7-Eleven’s focus and our focus has been to try to upgrade as many sites as possible,” said Sandhu. “Because of the lot being available next door, it made perfect sense to do an addition and an expansion and bring additional categories. We’ve definitely taken it to the next level.”
The store was originally built in 1981.
“It’s always been a community and neighborhood store,” noted Sandhu who used to live in the neighborhood behind the former Kmart store. “The city of Ceres seems like has a perfect demographic for our customers.”
Sandhu also owns the 7-Eleven at the southeast corner of Service and Mitchell roads. It was remodeled last year.
On the west side of Ceres, construction is taking place for a new 7-Eleven store at the southwest corner of Whitmore Avenue and Blaker Road.
In May 2019 the Ceres Planning Commission approved plans for the new 7-Eleven, which include removal of a house and garage to build the store and a six-pump gas island.
Applicant Benny Singh Dhanda of Stockton won approval of his Conditional Use Permit (CUP) required to build the 4,740 square foot building. The site has a zoning designation of Community Commercial (C-2) and has a General Plan designation of Community Commercial (CC). Since the proposal is for a convenience store with a gas station, approval of a Conditional Use Permit entitlement is required for the project.
In December 2018, Dhanda met with city planning staff to get the city’s feel for the project and was told that they had a problem with the car wash because of noise impacts on the residents of the neighboring Whitmore Oaks Senior complex. The car wash plans were dropped.
A portion of the building will be for a separate commercial tenant space. Because a grease trap is being included, the space could potentially accommodate a small future restaurant use or coffee shop instead of a carwash facility originally intended.
Two access points will be included along Blaker Road and one on Whitmore Avenue.