The “Y” store held a farewell fundraiser event Friday ahead of demolition
PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Where Front Beach Road meets State Road 79, locals describe this as not only a Chevron gas station and Express Lane convenience store, but an icon in the community since 1981. Now, they’re saying goodbye.
“If you say the Chevron at the Y, people seem to know where the Chevron at the Y is,” Apple Green District Manager Angela Elger said.
The company Apple Green, which runs Express Lanes stores, held a farewell fundraising event Friday. Elger said she’s been hearing locals say they’re surprised and saddened by the closure.
“You know a lot of the customers have been really upset and disappointed that the store is going because it’s a really vital part of the community here,” said Elger.
The “Y” store is being torn down to make way for a roundabout. Panama City Beach Interim City Manager Al Shortt said the area will provide enough land for the new traffic circle.
“With all the traffic that we have, it’s very congested and slow-moving. So, this will improve the situation,” said Shortt.
But, Elger said she doesn’t see how adding a roundabout will improve the area.
“Studies have shown that they typically reduce crashes, so it’s a safer intersection,” said Shortt.
While Shortt mentions better traffic flow, Elger said she’s more concerned about lost jobs.
“This is one of our busiest stores. We’re taking a big loss. It’s going to be really missed. It provides jobs,” said Elger.
Elger said this farewell fundraising event brought in a few hundred loyal locals to say their last goodbyes. She adds while this is a sad time, they found some comfort in knowing they raised $600 today for suicide prevention and children with autism charities.
Shortt said they’re scheduled to take bids on the project next month and he expects construction on the roundabout to take anywhere from a year and a half to two years to complete.
Elger said she expects the “Y” store to be torn down in June.
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