Al Hebert is the Gas Station Gourmet and
showcases America’s culinary treasure — gas station
cuisine. TV host Hebert shares these stories and on
occasion, a recipe or two at GasStationGourmet.
com. He is a regular NACS Magazine contributor,
bringing foodservice ideas to readers.
“The margin is not as great, but Car Quest custom-
ers come in here.”
The local movie theater, two blocks away, also
has a presence in the store. “We buy a set amount
of movie tickets each month and offer a Satur-
day Movie Special. For $13.50 [customers] get a
cheeseburger, fries and a
movie ticket. The theater
gives us two slides for ad-
vertising at the beginning of
the movie,” said Sean.
The brothers support the
community in additional
ways by holding events
that serve the needs of the
area; it’s part of the store’s
mission. “If people are
raising money, we’re happy
to help. It spreads goodwill
throughout the community,”
said Deven. “In March we
sponsored a ‘dig out’ of the
skate park — a big concrete
bowl for skateboarding. It
filled with snow and could
not be used. We grilled,
gave out free food and told
people to bring shovels.”
Fun, Food and Music
College students make up
a major part of Powerstop’s
customer base so naturally the Bennetts wanted
to make it easy for them to shop at the store. To
help, the store is set up to take the local college’s
Mountaineer Card. Parents put money on the
card, which can be used on campus for meals as
well as in a few retail locations around town. “We
wanted to target those students and get freshmen
in the store. It’s a good way to get them off cam-
pus for food and gas,” said Sean.
And Wednesdays are a big night for college kids to
hit the town. At Powerstop, “each Wednesday is Flip
Night. The cashier flips a coin. If you guess right
(as in heads or tails) you get the beer free. It’s fun. It
makes us different,” said Deven.
Once or twice a month, live music is featured.
“All of our racks in the store are on wheels. So we
can push them to the side and open up space in the
store,” said Deven.
Sean observed, “It’s funny, it’s 10 pm, the band is
rocking with 100 customers in the store and some-
one stops to get gas and a gallon of milk or smokes
and there’s a party going on inside a gas station.”
In addition, ski and snowboard movie premieres
are a big draw. “We bought a high definition projec-
tor with a pull-down screen. We show the latest ski
and snowboard films, and beer and liquor vendors
help sponsor them,” said Deven.
While there’s a lot of fun to be had, Powerstop
takes its food seriously. Fresh ingredients are key
to the success. “The beef is all local, natural beef
and the buns are baked by a local baker,” said Deven, adding, “We’ve won Best Burger in Gunnison
four years running.”
The brothers often reflect on their chosen go-to-market strategy: “We make it a priority to support
our local market. Partnering and supporting with
local businesses works for everyone. We’d rather
share customers than alienate anyone. If we can
make the entire business community better, it
When the nearby board, ski and skate shop went out of business, the brothers saw an opportunity to build their own action sports store. An additional 1,000 square feet was added to the
Powerstop building for the new business.
The Hammer — as the space is called — opened up in January of this year. “We carry skis,
snowboards, clothing, shoes, skateboards. In the summer we will transition to wakeboards,
waterskis, stand-up paddle boards and raft rentals,” said Deven.
Sean said, “We grew up here skiing and snowboarding. When the local shop closed down,
you couldn’t buy a skateboard or snowboard. There are certain items people like to feel and
touch. Even with online availability, people like to come in and try on shoes and sunglasses.”
Powerstop makes it a priority to
support the local marketplace:
“We’d rather share customers than
alienate anyone,” say the owners.