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Competition between two major gas retailers appears to be heating up in Hall County.
Grading for a RaceTrac store is underway off E.E. Butler Parkway at West Ridge Road, near Interstate 985 and directly across from a QuikTrip store that was one of that chain’s first Hall locations.
When asked why the site was chosen, RaceTrac spokeswoman Karissa Bursch said the chain “determines its locations based on a number of factors, including traffic patterns, current permitting and more.
“The team at RaceTrac determined this location in Gainesville to be a fit for us at this time,” she said.
The close proximity doesn’t bother QuikTrip spokesman Mike Thornbrugh.
“Competition, heck, it’s healthy,” he said. “We compete against (Racetrac) in Dallas-Fort Worth and, of course, the Atlanta area. I’m sure there are other (areas). It happens.”
The chains have four stores apiece in Hall.
QuikTrip, which is based in Tulsa, Okla., has one each in Buford and Oakwood and two in Gainesville. RaceTrac, based in Atlanta, has one store in Oakwood and three in Gainesville.
For years, the QuikTrip off West Ridge at E.E. Butler and the RaceTrac off Mundy Mill and Old Oakwood roads in Oakwood were the chains’ only stores in Hall —- 13 miles from each other.
Competition has only heated up between them in the past few years, with RaceTrac’s march into Gainesville. The chain now operates stores off McEver Road, Queen City Parkway and Ga. 365 at Howard Road.
Its Gainesville stores marked a new prototype, one that featured both side and front entrances and more gas pumps.
Last year, RaceTrac renovated and expanded the Oakwood store.
QuikTrip opened the store in Buford just before the Georgia Department of Transportation began — and has since finished — widening Lanier Islands Parkway/Ga. 347 at Atlanta Highway/Ga. 13.
It later built a new prototype “Generation 3” store off Jesse Jewell and Limestone parkways in the New Holland community of Gainesville.
And last year, it rebuilt its store off Mundy Mill at the newly opened Milton Martin Toyota Way in Oakwood with the “Generation 3” look.
“It’s a completely different look both outside and inside,” Thornbrugh said at the time.
The RaceTrac planned at E.E. Butler and West Ridge is on 2 acres and will be nearly 6,000 square feet in size, Gainesville Planning Manager Matt Tate said.
“The building and architecture will be similar to the existing three RaceTrac locations in Gainesville,” he said.
The building also will have entrances and exits off E.E. Butler and West Ridge, Tate said.
The project is expected to take about seven months to complete, he added.
The store will feature Swirl World, a frozen treat station, as well as an expanded coffee bar and fresh food offerings, Bursch said.
Thornbrugh said he didn’t know of any specific upgrades planned at the QuikTrip at its location across the street.
However, “over a period of time, we’re going to try to either rebuild we have with the (chain’s) new model and most likely, that will include that current store” off E.E. Butler, he said.
“I’m just not aware of the timetable. We have a whole bunch of stores to do.”