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Handy Mart grows to four sites with Bay City

BAY CITY --- Roger Jevne got into gas station-convenience store ownership late in life, but he brings a youthful enthusiasm to the business.

The latest example of Jevne's enthusiastic involvement is the expansion of his Handy Mart outlets to a fourth location, at the site of the former Lil' Genie Market in Bay City. In the first two weeks since he took over the establishment, he's nearly gutted and renovated the inside of the store, plus replaced the gas pumps out front.

"We plan to add more and offer quantity pricing," he said Thursday.

Among the new features are liquor, as Jevne's obtained an alcohol license, and one cooler door will be devoted to chilled wine, he said. A fountain drink center, hot dogs, pizza and breakfast items will be available, as will some lines of produce. Beyond food and beverages, a pay-at-the-pump option has been introduced, access to the state lottery--both instant games and online--has been arranged, license plate tab renewal is coming, along with fishing and hunting license registration, and customers will find live bait, video rentals and more.

"Sixty-five percent of what we have is bought locally," he said, mentioning pop, milk, ice cream, pizza and beer in that category.

All shelving has been replaced, the interior has been repainted and a new checkout counter installed, the owner said, crediting Durand Builders for some of the upgrading. An all-automated inventory system will be operated. A red stripe is to be added around the perimeter of the building as an accent.

At 4,500 square feet, the convenience store's space is slightly larger than his other locations, two of which are in Durand and one in Nelson, Jevne said. Driver Dave's Diner leases the west side of the building near the corner of Hwy. 35 and CTH EE and may contribute some food items to be sold in the store.

"Marlboro cigarettes and Mountain Dew are our top sellers," he said, noting Snickers candy bars are also a customer favorite.

The Bay City outlet employs a staff of six, including 28-year veteran Manager Jodi Bach, and two more employees are to be hired, the owner said. The store opens at 5 a.m. Mondays through Fridays and 6 a.m. Saturdays and Sundays, with a closing time of 10 p.m., though there are plans to extend this to 11 p.m. or midnight on Fridays and Saturdays.

Read more in the print version of the Pierce County Herald March 19.