Gas Station Gourmet
Two brothers work closely with local businesses to create a happening
hot spot and c-store for their Colorado community.
BY AL HEBERT
About five years ago, brothers De- ven and Sean Bennett wanted to change careers. Both were in real estate in Gunnison-Crested Butte, Colorado: Deven was laid off from his job as a sales and marketing manager while Sean, a real estate agent, was watching the
local market tank. Ironically, “we had been keeping track of a gas station here in Gunnison that
was vacant and decided to buy ourselves a job,”
The Bennetts bought the store in February of 2009
and began a three-month remodel before opening
that May. The Powerstop, as it’s called, is now a hub of
activity in this small college town, which is also home
to one of Colorado’s best skiing destinations.
A Place to Gather
“We didn’t want a typical gas
station-convenience store so we
essentially modeled it after what we
like and where we saw opportunity
in Gunnison,” explained Deven.
Unlike liquor stores, convenience
stores in Colorado are only allowed
to sell beer no higher than 3.2%
by volume — putting c-stores at a
competitive disadvantage. With
tourists generating most of their
beer sales, the Bennetts came up
with a solution: Powerstop obtained
a tavern/restaurant liquor license in
lieu of a retail license, meaning that all alcohol must
be consumed on-premise. Since half of the store is
a dining area, the Bennetts can serve alcohol with
food, and they have a bar with six taps dedicated to
local craft brews.
In the Same Tent
The brothers developed a strategy to bring addition-
al local products into the store. Instead of buying
from vendors, the
Bennetts sought out
local businesses for
supplies and stock.
Ingredients for menu
items are made and
like buns baked at a
“We’re a big
ranching community. Local beef is less expensive be-
cause it’s not being packed and sent off. They say you
pay more if you buy local; we pay less,” said Deven.
“People are surprised, but you don’t have to buy
from big distributors,” added Sean, “We have over a
dozen local businesses in our store.”
Camp 4 Coffee, a local brand, is one of those doz-
en businesses. In addition, the local Car Quest auto
store stocks the auto parts section. Deven explained,
Powerstop owners Sean (left) and
Deven Bennett are sitting pretty.