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"IT'S A GODSEND": Fort Myers Beach welcomes back first gas station since Ian

Posted at 10:50 PM, Apr 09, 2024

FORT MYERS BEACH, Fla. — Fort Myers Beach is welcoming back its first gas station since the devastating impact of Hurricane Ian over a year and a half ago. The 7-Eleven gas station, located at Estero Boulevard and Lenell Road, is back open, marking another milestone in the island's journey to normalcy.

Local business owners and residents have expressed their relief and enthusiasm over the reopening.

Dean Ruban, owner of Dean Ruban Electric, highlighted the convenience the gas station brings back to the community.

"Oh, it's a godsend," Ruban exclaimed.

Before the station reopened, Ruban had to drive off the island to refuel his van, a time-consuming task that is no longer necessary. When asked about the time saved by this development, Ruban estimated, "Hours, it'll probably save me 45 minutes to an hour."

The reopening is a relief not only in terms of convenience, but also for the potential reduction in traffic. With fewer people needing to leave the island for fuel, there's hope for less congestion on the roads.

Efforts to restore essential services have been ongoing, with Fort Myers Beach Vice Mayor Jim Atterholt emphasizing the city's role in the gas station's return.

"I focused on the post office, The Publix, The CVS Pharmacy, and now the 7-11, because those are essential items, to make life normal again, as normal as it can be under the circumstances here on Fort Myers Beach," Atterholt stated. "The city aided the gas station with permitting and restoring power, among other necessities."

Before Hurricane Ian, the island had five 7-Eleven stores. This gas station's reopening is the first of the four planned re-openings. It was the only location was spared from complete demolition, unlike its counterparts.

The old gas station at 6221 Estero Blvd is currently for sale for $2.75 million.

A spokesperson indicated that the remaining three are expected to break ground in October 2024.

1301 Estero Blvd 7-11 Rendering - FORT MYERS BEACH L.P.A.
3051 Estero Blvd 7-11 Rendering - FORT MYERS BEACH L.P.A.

As part of the grand reopening, representatives of the store will be handing out shirts and other merchandise on April 26.