Business

Tulalip Tribes open gas station

Tulalip Tribal Treasurer Chuck James pumps the inaugural tankful of gas from the pumps of the Marine Drive Chevron fueling station on Nov. 3. - Kirk Boxleitner
Tulalip Tribal Treasurer Chuck James pumps the inaugural tankful of gas from the pumps of the Marine Drive Chevron fueling station on Nov. 3.
— image credit: Kirk Boxleitner

TULALIP — The Marine Drive Chevron fueling station celebrated its soft opening on the early morning of Nov. 3, as Tulalip Tribal members took part in a blessing ceremony and reflected on the progress that this business venture represents for their people.

“It’s a symbol of how our Tribes are growing and feeding the economy, not just of our base, but on both sides of the freeway,” said Tulalip Tribal Vice Chair Glen Gobin. “It seems to have sprung up overnight. It took 90 days, from start to finish. It’s amazing how everyone came together, working long hours in heavy traffic, to make this happen. That’s great teamwork.”

Tulalip Tribal Board member Don Hatch Jr. joined Glen Gobin in giving credit to Quil Ceda Village Manager Steve Gobin, among others, for the part he played in making the gas station a reality. Tulalip Tribal Treasurer Chuck James, before he pumped the inaugural tankful of gas from the station’s pumps, deemed this new gas station yet another step in the Tribes’ economic development.

“When we started looking at venues and moneymakers to draw customers in, we looked at the casinos back east,” James said. “One of the first things they did was build gas stations next to them, because then you get the customers who stop and say, ‘Oh, I think I’ll go over here for a while.’ We’ve been blown away by the success of our station at 116th. It was obvious we were going to do a second station, but we looked at this area and said, ‘How the heck do you do this?’”

Fred McDonald, an engineer with Quil Ceda Engineering Services, explained how the Marine Drive Chevron fueling station’s unique layout benefits its commerce.

“The highest throughput is a triangle, which this site was suited to fit,” McDonald said. “If and when it expands into a new store, it’s designed to funnel its traffic through toward that store and increase its business.”

The Gobins both acknowledged contractor Sabre for working with the Tribal Employment Rights Office to ensure that Tribal members would be employed by this project, with Glen Gobin adding his thanks to the city of Marysville and Snohomish County for their cooperation.

“We finished on time and within our budget,” said Glen Gobin, who also expressed his gratitude to supplier American Energy. “It’s always refreshing to work with someone who buys into the Tribes’ values.”

Puyallup Tribal Council member David Bean visited to take part in the ceremonial drumming and offer his own congratulations.

“I always look to Tulalip as leaders in Indian country,” Bean said. “This is sovereignty in motion.”

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