Gas wars: Sheetz joins gas station competition on Genito Road

The Shell will soon be one of four gas stations on the same intersection.

Jackson Bechtold

The Shell will soon be one of four gas stations on the same intersection.

Three gas stations currently occupy the intersection of Charter Colony Parkway and Genito Road. A BP sits right on the corner with a Shell as its next door neighbor. Across the street is an Exxon, pushed far back from the road and with minimal advertising. This competition would dissuade most, but a new Sheetz is building a new location on an adjacent corner regardless. With such a high density of gas stations, it’s unlikely that all can coexist. 

Traffic data is the best metric available to extrapolate the success of these gas stations. The data from the Virginia Traffic Volume Map provided by the Virginia Department of Transportation presents the approximate amount of cars that drive by these gas stations every day. 

The Exxon remains unthreatened by the new Sheetz. Even in the face of Exxon’s lack of visibility, they hold a unique advantage; they are the only gas station that cars traveling on Genito West can conveniently gain access to. Every day, approximately 11,000 cars pass by the Exxon with no other easy option for gas. 

However, the BP and the Shell will lose business to the new Sheetz. The Shell is especially susceptible as it is only accessible to cars going down Genito East. The BP has corner advantage and is accessible by multiple roads just as the Sheetz is. However, the corner the Sheetz is on is about to gain a lot more value by virtue of The Lake, a water park that Lake Adventures LLC is currently installing. 

The Lake is a publicly funded project and is projected to bring tourists to the Chesterfield area. It’s part of a larger move the county is making as described in the Genito/288 Special Focus Area land-use plan. The Lake will be accessible by Genito road which will bring many vehicles right by the Sheetz on Genito East. This traffic will only increase as the Genito/288 Special Focus Area is showing no signs of stalling development. In addition to the Lake, Chesterfield County is looking to finally sell the parcel of land containing Southside Speedway. 

Knowing the stakes, it is important to understand what makes Sheetz unique. Sheetz’s primary advantage among the contending gas stations is its ability to sell food made on location, a trait shared primarily by regional competitor Wawa, who has no nearby locations. Food could well be the winning factor between the Shell, the BP, and the Sheetz, but it is impossible to gauge the quality of a location that does not exist yet.

Sheetz’s food advantage and corner advantage will most likely put the nearby Shell out of business. The Shell is only accessible by one road which is shared by the BP and the Sheetz, and the coming years will not be kind to it. The BP will survive through its corner advantage but will experience reduced business. Assuming Sheetz plays its cards right, it will be on that street corner for a long time, providing gas to tourists and food to guests of River City Sportsplex, the Lake, and whatever is installed on the Southside Speedway parcel. The Sheetz, while largely mundane, is among the first in a series of signs as to what Chesterfield is becoming as the county continues to develop.