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Circle K, 4760 Forest Drive: 1 April 2011 (open again)   20 comments

Posted at 2:49 am in closing

For most of my life, this building was a Gulf Station and was our default family choice for gas and light service.

After the place closed as a Gulf, it seemed to go through several phases that I am now hazy on. In particular, I think there was a period after it was a full service station and before Circle K when it was still a gas-only station, but without service. During this period, the service bays were closed, but the car-wash bay was still in operation, and you could get a code to with each fill-up to go through the wash.

Circle K took over the place in sort of a half-hearted way. They never really committed to making the place a "modern" convenience store, and the service and wash bays remained walled off, but unconverted, forcing the convenience operation into a really small cramped space. In particular, they never put in interior bathrooms as all stores now do, and the old Gulf restrooms on the Trenholm Road side of the station remained the only ones (though they were never ADA-ed).

Though the place remained my default gas station, there were some inconvenient touches to that aspect as well. First they gradually closed off the Trenholm Road door. At first sometimes you would go and it would be open and sometimes it would be locked, then finally it was always locked. Second, they took the pump locks off the pump handles. That meant you had to hold the pump handle throughout the whole fueling operation. I think some places feel this is a safety issue, but I say that's bunk. Thirdly, from time to time, they seemed to have the slowest pumps in SC. On those days, I think if I had not pre-paid, I would have just driven off rather than wait for the gentle trickle to creep up to $20. (Of course nothing *creeps* to $20 nowdays..)

Initially when the place was a Union 76, even though the store itself was technically a Circle K, they signage played up the 76 affiliation, and the Circle K branding was almost invisible. Sometime last fall, they completely, and messily, disaffiliated from Union 76, knocking out the logo panel on their street sign, and pasting Circle K branding on the pumps (take off the pumps now that the CK is closed).

(Hat tip to commenter Matt)

UPDATE 23 May 2011 -- various pictures as below:

On 17 May, it appeared that the underground tanks were being pumped dry:

On 18 May, they started digging up the underground tanks. Hopefully all those holes in the tanks were made during the excavation:

By 21 May, the tanks had been carted off:

By 22 May, the hole has been partly filled in, the pumps are off in the corner, and the next step is unclear. Knock the building down? Start an interior refit?

UPDATE 16 June 2011 -- Hmm. New sign, and it appears that the building is slated to be torn down. A ground lease is a type of lease where the tennant gets to build on the land during the lease period, and of course build-to-suit means a new building as well. Looking at the supports for the canopy on the Trenholm Road side, it appears that they have already decided that backing into things doesn't matter anymore..

UPDATE 18 July 2011 -- Well, demolition has started. Already the canopies have been knocked down. They haven't torn into the building itself as far as the walls go, but it sure doesn't look like it's long for the world:

UPDATE 19 July 2011 -- Well the end has come! Interestingly, the bathrooms were the last piece left standing. I shot some video of them knocking down part of the bathroom wall, but it didn't come out:

UPDATE 19 July 2011: The whole building is down now. Also added first pic of Circle K logo at top:

UPDATE 20 July 2011: Add 18 July 2011 photoset below.

UPDATE 21 July 2011: Today they knocked down the street sign and the trailer is gone. (No pix yet). Also I added the 19 July photoset below.

UPDATE 23 September 2011 -- Well, the place is apparently to be a Circle K again according to the new sign in the lot. And in the meantime, the old chargecard sign hangs on..

UPDATE 5 May 2012 -- It appears that new construction has finally started, or at least excavation:







UPDATE 21 May 2012 -- Landscaping and excavation continue and now they have boarded out the foundations for part of the new construction. Apparently they will be building in what was green space in the former Bell's Drive-In as well as the old Gulf/Circle K lot. At least my memory is that Gulf & Bell's sort of shared a parking lot, but that Bell's itself sat in this little strip between the gas station and the drugstore which never had a building after Bell's was torn down:









UPDATE 2 June 2012 -- The new underground tanks are going in:








UPDATE 6 June 2012 -- Looks like it's going to be a fairly small building:






UPDATE 17 August 2012 -- The new building is almost ready to open. In fact, I saw a car pull up to the "Redbox" and apparently rent a movie:









UPDATE 12 September 2012 -- The construction is finished, and the new store is open. I was conflicted as to whether I should mark the post as "open again" given that it is a completely new building, but in the end I did. If it ever closes again though, it will get a separate closing..






Photoset 18 July 2011
Photoset 19 July 2011
Photoset 20 May 2012

UPDATE 29 March 2023: Adding map icon & updating tags.

20 Responses to 'Circle K, 4760 Forest Drive: 1 April 2011 (open again)'

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  1. I find it remarkable that except for the trim along the roof and the various changes in exterior color schemes, the building still looked very much the same from outside as it did fifty years ago.


    4 Apr 11 at 4:08 pm

  2. almost all 76 in columbia have been renamed shell or circle k i wonder why?


    5 Apr 11 at 10:21 am

  3. I work for RJ Reynolds Tobacco Co. I use to call on this this store and they had been talking for a number of years tearing it down and rebuilding it. I am not sure if that is what they are doing here or not. just and F.Y.I. Love this site!


    11 Apr 11 at 10:32 pm

  4. Thanks William!


    11 Apr 11 at 11:15 pm

  5. There was a trackhoe excavator in the parking lot Sunday afternoon. I haven't been by there since to see if the building is gone yet.


    17 May 11 at 9:29 am

  6. It looks as though something is going on here! They have removed some of the pumps. I am hoping they are tearing it all down and rebuilding a new gas station here as this was the best price in this area! They are using the excavator but it seems to be slow going.

    Mrs. SK

    22 May 11 at 9:23 pm

  7. Can you tell me what the sign here means by Ground Lease or Build to Suit? I am curious what a ground lease is and all as I know what Build to Suit means! Thanks!! I learn a lot here! :o)

    Mrs. SK

    18 Jun 11 at 6:42 pm

  8. In a ground lease, the tenant can build on the lot. However, the building will then belong to the land owner at the end of the lease term (unless specifically contracted otherwise). I think.. I hadn't heard of the term before either.


    18 Jun 11 at 11:17 pm

  9. That's right. A ground lease is a good tool because the annual payment to the owner is a fraction of what it would have cost the company to purchase the property. They are usually contracted for 15 to 30 years with an option to renew and the builder is allowed to write off the lease expense. Once the lease expires all improvements belong to the land owner. I have always considered that the term 'improvements' is used loosely, because after time without maintenance some turn into detractions that end up costing the owner cleanup expenses.

    Terry Edwards

    19 Jun 11 at 2:14 am

  10. Well, that's it for this building!


    19 Jul 11 at 12:50 pm

  11. I guess they tried to only clean up the hazardous waste left over from the gas station and lease the building. Then when nobody was interested, they demolished the rest of it.


    20 Jul 11 at 8:08 am

  12. Looking for original stores in Trenholm particularly a toy store


    25 Aug 11 at 9:31 pm

  13. @John, check here.


    25 Aug 11 at 9:37 pm

  14. Coldn't find all the stores on there


    25 Aug 11 at 9:40 pm

  15. Well, that's all I have researched so far. You could check out old phonebooks and city directories on the third floor at the RCPL..


    25 Aug 11 at 9:59 pm

  16. Thanks!


    25 Aug 11 at 10:01 pm

  17. I wonder if the rebuild has finally gotten started based on the excavators in place I noticed this week...and if so, will it get a Circle K quality car wash so that the 40-50K VPD that pass this intersection on a daily basis have the opportunity to have a Circle K car wash blast away at their car


    5 May 12 at 10:39 pm

  18. It became apparent to me earlier in the weekend when I rode by this place that the new Circle K is now open for business with all the modern characteristics of a convenience store.


    3 Sep 12 at 11:50 am

  19. Yep. I've been meaning to get some pictures,but it's either been raining, or I've been going the wrong way or whatever.


    3 Sep 12 at 1:29 pm

  20. nice webpage of the old gulf station. this location is across the street from the old exxon converted into a five guys. i like the old exxon service station buildings. it is cool that this one was converted and not torn down. theres an old exxon in Wilmington nc and it was transformed into a Starbucks. looks similar to this five guys. go to street view type in starbucks oleander rd Wilmington nc.


    29 Sep 17 at 8:01 pm

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