The owners of the Porter Country Mart received final approval for their new convenience shop and gas station before the Porter Zoning Board of Appeals last week.
David Erway said he hopes to open the new 3,900-square-foot shop on the southeast corner of Youngstown-Lockport and Ransomville roads by late summer.
Erway and his wife, Pamela, have been negotiating with Dunkin' Donuts and Tim Hortons to provide space for a doughnut shop in the building, which will include a drive-through, he said.
David Erway said he thinks that a doughnut shop will increase the car count.
"Things could start happening in Ransomville," he predicted. "Ransomville is in the center of everything, and we have a really good chance to grow."
The Erways currently rent the site of their shop at 3628 Ransomville Road. Their landlord is Reid Petroleum Corp.
Their new shop will be across the street.
It has taken about six months to obtain the necessary board and agency approvals, Erway said, but he has been purchasing the properties for his new store "for the past 12 to 14 years, piece by piece."
Buildings that housed an auto repair shop, insurance company, hairdresser and private homes have been demolished to make room for the new store, combining five parcels into one 1.5-acre lot.
The new shop will continue to carry the Erways' popular lunch selections, as well as offer four gasoline pumps, with room to service eight vehicles at a time. Erway said he also will sell diesel fuel, not readily available in the immediate area.
The Erways' shop is currently open every day from 6 a.m. to midnight and employs 16 part-time employees.
The Wilson couple started their business 35 years ago as the D&P Corner Store on another piece of property across the street. They operated the business from 1972 to 1980, when they sold that property, changed the name to the Porter Country Mart and began renting the spot along Ransomville Road. "Sometimes things do work out if you stick with it," Pamela Erway said.
William Tower, chairman of the town Zoning Board, said, "I think this is a very viable project. . . . This will provide a service to the community, and I think it would be an asset."
He added that "I've lived in the town all of my life, and we've never had an individually owned project of this magnitude in Ransomville."
Porter Supervisor Merton Wiepert said, "This could be the beginning of streetscape-improvement plans for this hamlet."