The grand opening of the new Lone Butte Trade Center will be held Saturday July 12, at 1188 S. 56th St. in Chandler, Ariz. next to the Lone Butte Casino. Community member and owner of the On Auk Mor Trade Centers David Montiel and co-owner of the Gila River locations Sterling Thomas (Gila River) will be celebrating the opening of their fourth convenience store/smoke shop.
This 8,500 square foot building is very similar to On Auk Mor #2 located within the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community at the corner of McKellips Road and McClintock Drive. Some similarities include a drive-thru window for tobacco products, square footage, Chevron branded gas pumps, cooler space, a smoke/cigarette (18 and over only) room and similar architecture.
We do a lot more sales than your normal convenience store. The location and drive-up windows make this place unique. A lot of our customers are in the elderly age group so it’s more convenient for them or if you had a dog or pet and you didn’t want to leave it in the car, you could go to the drive-thru,” said Leland Fulwilder, CFO.
The Lone Butte Trade Center is a little more unique in that it will have two drive-thru windows, a family bathroom, an aquarium with tropical fish, a more spacious smoke/cigarette room, a deli, free Wi-Fi, 12 gas pumps and the hours of operation will be extended for liquor sales, from 6 a.m. to 2 a.m. This convenience store will be a lot bigger and a lot more spacious.
“[It] tends to have that QT feel to it,” said Fulwilder. “One thing we haven’t decided on is the deli space, so right now it’s just a blank wall. We were thinking a franchise like maybe a Subway or a Pizza Hut Express, something that isn’t competing with Lone Butte Casino. We want some brand equity, something that customers are comfortable with.”
After approximately a year and a half of planning, all the hard work will pay off come July. Fulwilder added that he is looking forward for this location to be successful financially. Being located right off the South Mountain Loop 202 freeway and next to the Lone Butte Casino gives him hope of bringing in more customers and allowing for him to create more job opportunities for the Community.
Some of the biggest obstacles we had to deal with involved the Bureau of Indian Affairs, obtaining a liquor license and transforming a desert landscape into what it is today. “It looked like we were on Mars,” said Fulwilder, as he laughed. The landscape has been completely transformed, Fulwilder believes they have chosen a great location. “We [changed] the landscaping to incorporate more of the indigenous aspects,” said Thomas.
The architecture of the building is very similar to the On Auk Mor #2 location. It will have the rusted metal lined vertically in front of and around parts of the store. A weave basket design will be on the outside of the building as well as inside the store. “Everything here is based off of the sun and how it sets,” said Fulwilder when asked about the metal architecture.
“One thing that Gila River has been really nice to us about is they actually built [the road in front of the gas station], after we made plans to build this. There is going to be more future development [opportunities] for them, they’re going to start expanding commercially. This road is actually going to go all the way to Wild Horse Pass Casino,” said Fulwilder.
“We really created a loyal customer base,” said Fulwilder. On Auk Mor does have future plans for the next 3-5 years, but nothing as big as the Lone Butte Trade Center.
To date, the remainder of the building is getting all of its final touches. Items and furniture will be in place by the grand opening which will be held on Saturday, July 12. Don’t forget to come check out what the new Lone Butte Trade Center is all about!