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Charlotte Amalie
Saturday, July 2, 2022


After many months, even years, in the planning stage, the north side now has its own gas station, complete with a small grocery. This has been a dream of north side resident Helen Berry Baker for "a long time."
"I've thought about this since the area was re-zoned into commercial property, but it hasn't been easy," Baker said. For one, getting the necessary permits was time consuming, to say nothing of going into a new endeavor.
But Baker is no stranger to business. She owned and managed the popular Berry's Farm restaurant on the same property for several years. She decided against reopening the restaurant in favor of a new concept. "I've spent some time in Texas in the past few years and I noticed something," she said. "You will see in small communities a country store, but it will be something extra," she explained. "They will have a little post-office, and usually a gas station, as well."
Baker said it gave her the idea of building a gas station on the north side, which is a small community where one has to go to town to get gas, which a lot of people don't want to do.
"I think having a little grocery and gas station gives the community something, a sort of self-sufficiency which is nice," Baker said, summing up her business concept.
She leased the property to a young couple with school-age children who are anxious to work at their own business, and they opened the third week of December. "We're all very enthusiastic," Baker said. And it's not just a grocery store. The new entrepreneurs bake their own bread and pastries on the premises, and even have coffee.
"People coming by have been very happy we're here, happy for the convenience," Baker said. There hasn't been a grocery in the area since the Nordside closed a few years ago.
Bearing out Baker's theory of a neighborhood business, it is called "Friendly Grocery and Gas Station," and it is open from 6:30 a.m. until 9 p.m. daily.

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