Signature Associates

We're sorry, but our site is built to take advantage of the latest web technologies that Internet Explorer 8 and below simply can't offer. Please take this opportunity to upgrade to a modern browser, like Google Chrome or Internet Explorer 11.

Contact Us


Sheetz, facing questions in Madison Heights, withdraws rezoning request

Posted By: Detroit Free Press on February 8, 2024.  For more information, please click here to read the source article.

In a sudden change of heart, Sheetz pulled back its application to open a convenience store and round-the-clock gas station in Madison Heights, and Monday’s public hearing on it was scrubbed.

It is the second Michigan community where the family-run, Altoona, Pennsylvania-based company has faced concerns as it seeks to expand into Michigan.

Local pushback shows communities may not be as eager to embrace it as the company anticipated. In its letter to Madison Heights, Sheetz said it needed more time to gather information to address “certain matters raised” at a November planning commission meeting.

Madison Heights City Manager Melissa Marsh said the city council and staff “do not have opinions or comments regarding the acceptability of this project as we have not heard the public comment yet.”

And unlike in Fraser, where the planning commission recommended to the city council that it reject Sheetz request to open a location there, the Madison Heights Planning Commission avoided making any recommendation at all.

But commissioners, Marsh said, questioned how the 24-hour operation would affect nearby residents, including the increased noise, light, and traffic, and whether the proposed development fit into the city’s overall development goals.

She added they also wondered about pollution — and whether Sheetz was doing enough to accommodate electric vehicle charging, an increasing concern as Detroit automakers aim to move to an electrified future.

Nick Ruffner, a spokesman for Sheetz, did not explain why the retailer abruptly changed course, but said in prepared remarks that the company is “excited to be planning a new store location in Madison Heights” and that it is seeking more time to introduce the brand to the local community.

In many ways, the concerns raised by the planning commission in Madison Heights were similar to those also raised by the planning commission and residents in Fraser. In the Macomb County suburb, the commission’s chair, Kathy Czarnecki, went so far as to say that she didn’t think the gas station was a “good fit” for the community.

Fraser could still approve a Sheetz, but the commission’s decision makes that less likely.

Last week, Sheetz announced to the Free Press its plans to open two metro Detroit stores ― one in Romulus on Middlebelt Road north of Interstate 94, and another in Chesterfield, off 23 Mile, east of I-94, later this year — with more in the works.

Sheetz also aims to build a store in Rochester Hills.

Sheetz is a family name that started in 1952 when Bob Sheetz bought one of his father’s dairy stores in Altoona and gradually began to open more. By the early 70s, he had more than a dozen stores and added gas pumps.

Sheetz, which now has about 700 stores and pokes fun at its scatological-sounding name, said in 2022, it planned to enter the metro Detroit market with dozens of new locations throughout the state and expected Michiganders to embrace the brand.

And while the Sheetz brand has a loyal following because of the convenience it offers — calling itself “a mecca for people on the go” that is open at all hours, including Christmas — some argue that the retailer is disruptive to local neighborhoods and, like many chain retailers, pose a threat to local, independent businesses.


« Back to Insights