Pilot Flying J open in Steubenville off state Route 7

OPEN FOR BUSINESS — Pilot Flying J opened for business on state Route 7 in Steubenville Monday and almost immediately was filled with customers. Taking time to gather for a photo in front of the Pilot Flying J deli were, from left, Mayor Domenick Mucci, General Manager Brandon Ohler, Kiera Eicher, Teri Bado, Brianna Schramm, Concept Food Manager Blake Davis, Linda Perdew, Nikki Hython, Regional District Manager Wade Arthur and City Manager Jim Mavromatis. -- Dave Gossett

STEUBENVILLE — Seven months after a project manager from Pilot Flying J appeared before the city planning commission seeking a rezoning request on a 5-acre site on state Route 7, the national fuel and travel center opened for business.

The Pilot Flying J Express officially opened at 11 a.m. Monday following a final inspection by city officials, and it didn’t take long for customers to arrive at the site.

“We looked at this property for several reasons. First of all, there are two small gas stations in downtown Steubenville. And, we wanted to bring a larger facility to the community. We want to give the community another option for their fuel needs. And, we want to be in a situation to serve the shale industry,” explained Pilot Flying J Regional Manager Wade Arthur.

General Manager Brandon Ohler said the store will have 42 employees and at least 35 of them will be from Steubenville.

“Our company philosophy is we are a great place to shop and a great place to work. We have the Deli Express, which is the first one in our area. We are open for business 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We are looking forward to getting the word out about our facility and welcoming new customers to our travel center,” Ohler stated.

City Manager Jim Mavromatis said it is encouraging to see a new business with 42 employees opening in Steubenville.

“You look around the building and the surrounding area that was once a parking lot for the old steel mill and you can see progress in Steubenville. It is not a big ticket business, but it is jobs for our local residents,” Mavromatis said.

“I am very pleased to see this business choose to open in Steubenville. Developers see potential in our community,” added Mayor Domenick Mucci.

Brad Alsup, a project manager with the corporation, unveiled plans in early February at a monthly planning and zoning commission meeting

“We are planning to build a travel center that will be a little smaller than you see on the interstate highways. We will provide fuel and services to the public and professional drivers,” Alsup said in February.

The national travel center purchased property near the former main entrance to the Wheeling-Pittsburgh Steel Corp. mill from the River Rail Intermodal Terminal. River Rail bought the former Wheeling-Pittsburgh Steel Corporation Steubenville plant in 2012.

According to John McDonald of River Rail, “this is a great thing for Steubenville.”

A demolition crew from Pulice Enterprises of Weirton started knocking down the old Wheeling-Pittsburgh Steel Corp. payroll office building in July to clear approximately 5 acres for a Pilot Flying J Travel Center.

“The demolition contractor told me later that brick building had been there for more than 100 years and had been built to last,” noted Arthur.

According to the Pilot Flying J website, the combined network of more than 650 Pilot and Flying J Travel Centers across North America serves more than 1.3 million guests daily.

(Gossett can be contacted at dgossett@heraldstaronline.com.)