$5 million requested for Tsé Si’ą́ní convenience store
Tsé Si’ą́ní Chapter is requesting $5 million for a convenience store off exit 357 to improve economic development within the community.
The $5 million, if approved, will be allocated from the Sih Hásin Fund to the Navajo Nation Oil and Gas Company. The funds will go toward planning, designing, and constructing the convenience store.
Delegate Raymond Smith Jr. said the business will be located just south of the Lupton Chapter and would be given 1.8 acres for the business.
“It’s going to be a 5,000-foot convenience store with a Chevron station, run and operated by the Navajo Oil and Gas,” Smith said.
Smith believes this store will attract tourists, provide jobs and opportunities in retail and sales, and provide sales tax for the chapter.
This location for the store was looked at in depth. There were many options along Interstate 40, according to William McCabe, vice president of NNOGC.
“Currently, the Navajo Nation Oil and Gas or the Nation itself does not have a c-store along the I-40 corridor,” McCabe said.
He explained how the company looked for locations beginning at the state line to the Ortega exit – eight exits in total. During this time, they looked specifically at traffic patterns and flow and the availability of land.
“When it came down to it, the Lupton exit was by far the dominant choice for the location of the c-store in the feasibility study,” he said.
In this study, they monitored the number of cars that came off the Lupton exit and the vehicle that would be anticipated to come off the exit if there was a highly recognized store.
Based on this study, McCabe said the numbers show that there will be a positive revenue stream from year one, and it will stay that way from then on.
“We ran a 10-year economic summary on that; it was a very promising and lucrative proposal after the feasibility study was run,” he said.
He could not give actual numbers and a summary because of his traveling.
Yvonne Murphy, the Lupton Chapter president, said she hopes for approval of the legislation.
“Speaking on behalf of my chapter, we’ve been working diligently on this project to develop a c-store,” she said. “One of a kind, as part of one of the entryways, gateways, into the Navajo Nation.”
The Lupton Chapter would like to see economic development happen within their community. They also want to see employment for the community members and the surrounding areas.
“Jobs are really hard to come by these days, and good gas is hard to come by,” Murphy said.
She wants to give the truck stops near Lupton “a run for their money.”
“It’s high time that we, as a chapter, start to give competition to these non-Navajo competitors,” she said.
The Resources and Development Committee approved the legislation with a “pass” recommendation.
The legislation will now move on to Budget and Finance. After that, it will go to the Naabik’íyáti Committee and, finally, the Navajo Nation Council, where it will be approved or denied.
Further details about the legislation can be found at dibb.nnols.org with the tracking number 0161-22.