AUSTINTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Sheetz made a big announcement this week. The company dropped its diesel fuel prices until the end of the month. But as our 27 Investigates team found out, some people aren’t too happy about it.
Trucks line up at the Sheetz off Route 46 in Austintown to fill up with diesel fuel that’s more than $1 cheaper than the national average. However, not everyone is happy about this low price.
“I can’t successfully run my business when they’re blocking us constantly,” said Lorinda DeCello, manager of Austintown Self Storage.
Austintown Self Storage shares Clarkins Road with Sheetz. DeCello said that when the prices lower, the businesses on Clarkins Road run into issues.
“The trucks are blocking two and three lanes, sometimes double parking, coming in and coming out,” said Mary Johnson, manager of Days Inn.
We’re told this traffic jam is turning customers away from these businesses.
“We have a lot of guests that are calling in and canceling reservations due to them not being able to get onto the road,” Johnson said.
It’s something Carlos Llamas, general manager of Los Girasoles Mexican Grill and Bar, knows all too well.
“A lot of customers call us like, ‘Hey, I have been waiting here for more than 30 minutes and nothing happened. I’m going to another place.’ So that’s affecting us like seriously,” Llamas said.
All three business managers say they’re fed up. They even took their concerns to the Austintown Zoning Department.
“They [Sheetz] are beyond the scope of the occupancy permit that we issued. That occupancy permit was to operate a truck and fuel center at that particular location. It did not include using the public right away as queuing or stacking for the trucks,” said Darren Crivelli, Austintown’s zoning inspector.
Crivelli says it’s unfortunate that the other businesses are running into issues from this.
“Obviously they’re doing this to create a larger market share but they’re also putting a burden on the other businesses,” Crivelli said.
As for the businesses…
“I just really would like to be able to cater to my guests so that they can come in and come out comfortably without having to worry about a semi-truck possibly hitting them,” Johnson said.
Those with the township said they are in contact with Sheetz and are hoping the company brings out an attendant who can direct traffic. They are giving the company one to two days to figure it out.