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New Auburn Highway 49 ARCO gas station in works at strategic location

Former A&W site now a convenience store, car wash
By: Gus Thomson, Reporter/Columnist
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The triangular parcel at Nevada Street and Highway 49 started its business life in 1966 as an A&W drive-in restaurant.

For several years it’s seen life as a car wash and convenience store.

But now a Folsom business founded by two brothers is making plans to expand its gas station empire by developing a 16-pump ARCO AM/PM station that will retain the car wash and convenience store business.

Placer County planners are now working with applicant Marc Strauch on a proposal submitted earlier this summer that calls for demolition of existing buildings on the site, which is just over the county line from Auburn city limits.

Plans are to build a new 3,000-square-foot AM/PM convenience store, a new automatic car wash facility covering another 1,260 square feet, and a canopy that will cover 4,872 square feet.

The plan also calls for installation of underground tanks for regular, unleaded and diesel fuel totalling 44,000 gallons.

Strauch did not respond to the Journal’s request for comment on the plan. But a Strauch Companies website shows a business model that revolves around expansion.

The business was founded in 1990 by Marc Strauch, with establishment of his first ARCO Mini Mart in Citrus Heights. Eight years later, Strauch partnered with his brother, Matt, and built a second ARCO station in Roseville. Shortly after that, the website states, the brothers expanded by building stations in Folsom, Elk Grove, Rocklin and Cameron Park. In 2008, they purchased ARCO stations in Marysville, Sacramento and a second in Elk Grove.

Three years later the brothers converted a station in Placerville into an ARCO AM/PM and added a Schlotzsky’s Deli to the location.

After selling the Rocklin business, they constructed a new ARCO AM/PM station in Lincoln in 2015. They also purchased a site that year in Brentwood.

A teardown on the distinctive building would come more than five decades after the A&W opened in September 1966 on property at what was then known by locals as Edgewood Corners, according to a Journal article at the time.

The drive-in restaurant serving the “Burger Family” and root beer made with water from a well on the site was said to be the largest A&W in the area. There was space for 57 cars, including 24 under the canopy. “Car hostesses” brought food and drinks in trays to vehicles to perch on partly opened window glass.

The new proposal is now moving through the planning process, according to county records.