BEATRICE – For years, some local residents may have wondered why the east edge of Beatrice has been devoid of significant retail commercial development.

Now, the first locally owned and operated convenience business will be coming to the area at U.S. Highway 136 and East Scott Street.  Todd and Soni Hydo will own and operate a U-Stop store, supplied by Whitehead Oil company.

Says Todd Hydo...“We put a lot of thought into it…and I’ve heard it if not hundreds of times, thousands of times...that something needs to go on the east side.  So, we put a lot of thought into where would be the first location it could go.  We picked this spot, just because, ideally, it’s right by the high school….it’s the first thing you’ll see coming into town.  And, the plus now is the elementary school is just right down the road. So, I think potentially we could see the east side really start to blow up here in the next few years.”

T.A.H. Properties Inc. recently finalized an agreement with the City of Beatrice to make use of tax increment financing to assist in developing the commercial site, which is near Beatrice High School and the House of Orange.  Todd Hydo says he’s hoping the doors to the new business will be open around November 1st of this year.  

“It’s going to be four pumps, eight fueling lanes, one on each side.  The store itself is going to be just shy of four-thousand square feet.  Then, we’ll have on the eight fueling lanes…the two outside lanes will be diesel, for larger trucks and buses.”  

Hydo, who runs a local plumbing business and developed a local brewery...says a modern floor plan will provide significant indoor space and there will be parking on all four sides of the business.  The business will border trees and a creek on the west, leaving about an acre-and-a-half for other development at the east end of the property.  Hydo hopes the project will spur additional development in that area of the city in the next two to three years.

“We’ve been working on the engineering for over a year.  When my wife and I starting thinking about this, we put feelers out there to everybody…all of the convenience store chains.  Whitehead Oil Company, the parent company of U-Stop got back with us, right away.  We’ve been working on this for a little over a year, putting the financing package together and the engineering and everything that goes into it.”

Though supplied by Whitehead Oil, Hydo says the store will be locally owned and operated. "Soni and I will own the store one hundred percent.  We are just a licensee of the U-Stops.  We’ll use their name and will use their fuel.  But, we’ll solely own the store.  We’re big on keeping the dollars local…and at least everything will be generated locally and will be in reinvested into the city and  hopefully other places.”

It’s estimated the business will employ about a dozen people, initially.   The Hydos’ purchased property north of the highway as well and are marketing that for additional development. 

The new development was approved by the Beatrice City Council, Planning and Zoning Commission and Community Redevelopment Authority. 

The project area will use up to approximately $680,000 in tax increment financing, for a development that is estimated to have a future valuation of about $2.48 million. TIF is used to assist in paying for land acquisition, grading, public utilities, public parking, engineering and architectural costs.

Still to be settled is the access drive location from U.S. Highway 136 to the business.