Finally, a gas station for Oronoco

For about seven years, there has been no place to buy gas and a quick snack in the city of Oronoco.

A deal signed Monday, however, will change all of that.

Casey’s General Stores Inc.signed a purchase agreement with People’s Cooperative Services to buy a site to build a new convenience store on the northwest corner of the 100th Street and U.S. 52. The Iowa-based chain already has stores in Rochester, Stewartville, Zumbrota, Mantorville and Hayfield.

That will put the new convenience store in Oronoco Crossings, a commercial park being developed by People's in front of the energy co-op's new headquarters complex. The rural power cooperative recently moved out of Rochester and built tge new facility in Oronoco.

The final sale of the property is expect to close in September, so look for construction to begin possibly as early as this fall.


Lining up a business like this has been a major goal for the Oronoco community, since JC’s Korner Martclosed to make way for U.S. 52 construction in 2005. Right now, there are no gas stations on the west side of U.S. 52 from St. Paul all the way to 41st Street in Rochester.

"When we started looking at property up here, I had a lot of contact with the city council and from residents out here, and the consistent question we heard all of the time was, 'Can you bring a convenience store in? We really miss our convenience store,'" says People's president and CEO Elaine Garry. "So we're pretty excited about getting one out here."

Beside Oronoco residents and highway drivers, the Casey's will also serve People’s fleet of vehicles and its 55 employees based at its headquarters.

Working with Mac Hamiltonof Rochester's Hamilton Real Estate, People's has been talking with the Casey's chain for about a year.

"A convenience store is the ingredient Oronoco has been missing, since JC's closed," says Hamilton.

Beyond this deal, Hamilton is helping People's to develop the Oronoco Crossings commercial park and is marketing the property. The site can accommodate a variety of commercial and industrial uses on the 34 remaining acres.

"Our goal is to sell it all and develop it," says Garry. Other deals for possible tenants are in the works, she says.

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