The new marquee at the soon-to-be opened Fuel City is only one sign of how things will change in Haltom City.
Set to open during the first two weeks of December, the convenience store extraordinaire at Haltom Road and Airport Freeway will also sport its signature street tacos and a menagerie that includes two baby buffaloes, two Longhorns, a donkey, a zebra and and a zonkey (half zebra-half donkey), said John Benda, the chain’s founder.
“It is all going good. I’m really really excited about it,” said Benda, a flashy showman who would rather you call his gas stations travel centers, destination spots and tourist attractions.
For those who don’t remember, Benda’s Fuel City stores — he has one in near downtown Dallas and another in Mesquite — sport not only cheap gasoline but also an urban cowboy vibe that makes them a favorite, 24-hour hangout. His Dallas store is such a popular nighttime hot spot that he has had to hire cops to direct traffic.
He has gussied up the Haltom City store with decorative stonework. Landscaping will soon be completed. It also has an outdoor patio with a garage door that can open and close to allow for dining in all kinds of weather.
“People will be able to sit out there and watch the Cowboys game or come at 2 in the morning and eat a taco,” he said. “It is going to be a lot of fun.”
Sweets maker seeks incentives
Fort Worth-based Parker Products, a maker of flavorings and candy products for baked goods, ice cream and other foods and beverages, is looking for a sweet deal from the city.
The company is seeking a 10-year tax incentive to consolidate and expand two facilities as it relocates to an 11-acre site in the Lone Star Business Park at NW Loop 820 and Strawn Lane, where it plans an 85,000-square-foot building. It’s also looking at a site in Durant, Okla.
The incentive is a 50 percent tax abatement that will provide the company $639,000 over 10 years. The city will collect $1.2 million in taxes from the project during that time.
Under terms of the incentive, Parker Products will need to invest $17 million in real property and $2 million in business personal property costs by Dec. 31, 2017. The company will need to retain 100 employees and create 30 more full-time positions by the end of 2018 and have 160 employees by the end of 2022.
Some of those hires will need to be central-city residents. The company will also have to meet goals in hiring Fort Worth companies and minority- and women-owned businesses.
Parker Products was founded in 1961 by Barney Parker as a spinoff of Pangburn’s candy company. The company dates to 1926 when I.C. Parker created the famous Drumstick ice cream treat.
The City Council will vote on the incentive Dec. 13.
GM boosts wind power
General Motors is known more in North Texas for its Arlington plant, where it builds big sport utility vehicles, than as a promoter of green energy. But it hopes to change that perception.
Last week, the automaker announced its biggest renewable energy deal to date, buying enough wind power to cover electricity needs at 16 facilities including its Arlington assembly plant and the GM Financial headquarters in downtown Fort Worth.
GM said it will purchase 50 megawatts of power produced at Cactus Flats, a 150-megawatt wind farm being developed by Renewable Energy Systems in Concho County, near San Angelo. When the contract begins, in the first half of 2018, 6 percent of GM’s global energy use will be powered by renewable energy, the company said in a statement.
GM’s Arlington plant, which is already 50 percent powered by renewable energy, will then be entirely fueled by green energy, the automaker says.
GM has committed to be completely powered by renewable energy by 2050 and will continue its development of electric vehicles as it works to address climate change. The automaker is part of RE100, a coalition of companies dedicated to the same goal and including Ikea, Bank of America, Biogen, BMW, Coca-Cola, Facebook, Goldman Sachs, Microsoft, Nike, Procter & Gamble and Starbucks.
“GM’s commitment to renewable energy is helping transform the way electricity is produced, distributed and consumed around the world, and we’re doing it in a way that makes our company and communities stronger,” Rob Threlkeld, GM global manager of Renewable Energy, said in a statement. “These renewable energy investments drive down greenhouse gas emissions, reduce our dependence on finite resources, and help keep our air and water clean.”
Texas, with more than 10,000 turbines, is the largest wind energy producer in the nation, according to the American Wind Energy Association.