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Big new gas station, convenience store coming to Baker

A development order for the project was signed in mid-December and a site plan has been approved by the county, according to the development order. The gas station will be just across Galliver Cutoff from the Ritz Food Mart.
A new CEFCO has been planned for the corner of Galliver Cutoff and State Road 4, right across the street from the Ritz Food store, which also sells gas. Photo by Wendy Victora Rudman

The small town of Baker is growing, with a 4,273-square foot convenience store planned and gas station planned for the corner of State Road 4 and Galliver Cutoff.

A development order for the project was signed in mid-December and a site plan has been approved by the county, according to the development order. The gas station will be just across Galliver Cutoff from the Ritz Food Mart.

Commissioner Nathan Boyles said that he believes that the new store at that location will be a CEFCO.

Tara Geiger grew up in Baker and has worked at the Ritz Food Mart for 20 years. She said she’s not worried about the impact a new gas station will have right across the street.

Five lots on Georgia Avenue between State Road 4 and Madison Avenue were sold in August. No paperwork has been submitted, but the parcels were purchased by Big Boss XVII, which is affiliated with Phillips Oil company. Big Boss has convenience stores across the Panhandle. Photo by Wendy Victora Rudman

When she was growing up, there were three convenience stores in Baker.

“I felt like there was enough business for them,” she said. “I’m not worried.”

A second convenience store and gas station is likely going in at the south end of State Road 4 and U.S. Highway 90. Boyles said a parcel there was rezoned to allow for a new gas station and a small strip of retail outlets.

But he’d not heard anything though about the August sale of five parcels near the intersection of Georgia Avenue and State Road 4. They were purchased Big Boss XXVII, LLC, which is affiliated with Phillips Oil company.

A request to Big Boss, LLC for more information was not immediately returned. Big Boss LLC has convenience stores in various locations across the Panhandle, including Destin and Niceville.

Those parcels, which are on the northeast side of the intersection, are now home to several empty buildings.

Two of the lots were vacant, but the others were once home to a restaurant named Dusty’s and the Baker Animal Clinic, the property appraisers records indicate.

Photo by Wendy Victora Rudman

The building at 1317 Georgia Avenue was built in 1944 and includes both office/storefront space and an apartment, according to the property appraiser’s website.

County officials said no development orders or site plans have been submitted for the parcels, which total less than an acre and sold in August for prices ranging from $32,500 to $216,000, according to the Okaloosa County Property Appraisers website. The total was just over $500,000.

Boyles said it’s common for business owners to keep information about new developments “close to their vest,” since once an elected official is told it becomes public record.

“Sometimes I learn about new projects in my district from the newspaper, time to time,” he said.

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