FALL RIVER – Elio Younes wants his customers to wake up and smell the coffee.
He says the coffee machine inside the new Riverside Gas & Diesel – located on the corner of North Main Street and President Avenue – will not be the typical one found at most other convenience stores and self-service gas stations.
“It will have a touchscreen (and) it will grind the beans while you wait,” said Younes, referring to what is known in the coffee machine industry as a self-service “bean to cup” system.
He says that although the machine costs more than $ 12,000, a small cup of coffee, with taxes, will cost less than two dollars.
Younes, 24, will run Riverside Gas & Diesel, which he said should be open for the next two weeks on behalf of the owner, who happens to be his father Sam.
The oldest Younes, 58, bought the property more than a year ago.
He estimates his total investment – including the purchase of land, new gas pumps, a repainted parking lot, landscaping and a convenience store – at around $ 1.5 million.
Sam Younes started working in the United States as a car mechanic in the Worcester region, after emigrating from Lebanon 25 years ago. He also owns and operates an auto repair, a service station in Franklin and the Fairhaven Gas Minimart.
“I like the city,” he said, referring to Fall River. “And I like that it is close to the school so that we can keep all the kids happy.”
Younes says that the name Riverside makes perfect sense, considering that the Taunton River is a short distance from the busy intersection.
It has been at least a decade since the land at 1101 North Main St. was used for business.
At one time, it was a Texaco gas station with an independent maintenance shop. Going back to the 1990s, you could even buy a used car there.
Elio Younes says the old gas station that came with the land was razed last April and has since been replaced by a 2,000-square-foot rectangular building.
There will also be six self-service gas and diesel pumps, all perpendicular to the long, narrow building.
Younes plans to hire three to five part-time employees.
Riverside Gas & Diesel has a license for beer and wine. Younes says he is buying beer from three different suppliers and wine from two suppliers.
“I don’t drink, so I don’t know much about brands,” he said. “I told them (suppliers) to treat it like it was their store, because it’s their business too.”
The provisional schedule for the operation seven days a week, he said, will be from 5 am to 11 pm.
Thus, said Younes, there will be no chance of a clerk accidentally selling an alcoholic drink after 11:00 pm. legal limit.
The store will also have a small cigar humidifier, unisex bathroom for customers and sale of lottery tickets.
Even though he helped his father in high school, he said that being a full-time manager in Fall River, while keeping an eye on the gas station and the Fairhaven convenience store, will be a kind of change of pace.
Younes says he joined the Army in December 2014.
“I loved it,” he said.
After basic training in Missouri, he lived in several states and became a combat engineer. He also managed to attend classes at the University of Massachusetts, where he majored in business administration.
But Younes, who is single, says he decided not to re-enlist to open a full-time business with his father.
“I thought it was time for a new page in my life,” he said. “My father lived the American dream and it is the least I can do for him and for my country.”
Younes is now a member of the Army National Guard. Once a month, he said, he puts his combat engineering skills to use, instructing other soldiers, using simulation-based training, such as using an M4 carbine rifle and Humvee vehicles.
He says he is particularly proud of the fact that his father was recognized as “a patriotic employer” by the Department of Defense program known as Guard and Reserve Employer Support.
It took a few months before his father discovered the Fall River site. Younes says he has already examined properties from Bellingham to Worcester and closer to Boston.
“But we just love this area,” said Younes. “SouthCoast is beautiful. The Portuguese are great (and) you have incredible food here. It’s diverse and kind of quiet. “
Younes, who now lives in New Bedford and says he plans to buy a house in Fairhaven, said that when he was a UMass student he moved from Amherst to the Dartmouth campus to be able to live in the southeastern part of the state.
He says he has a younger sister in college studying psychology and an older brother who works as an engineer for Fidelity Investment. His mother, he said, still helps with the family business.
Younes said he worked with a designer to create the company’s blue and green logo: “Blue is for the ocean, and green is very refreshing,” he said.
The closest competitor in terms of physical proximity to Riverside Gas & Diesel is the 7 Hills gas station, which has a much smaller building and is across the street.
Both gas stations sell unbranded gasoline.
“Everyone gets their share of the cake,” said Younes, adding that “he has to earn a living. I hope he’s doing well too. “
Younes said the pandemic is affecting gas stations as a result of fewer drivers on the roads and more people working from home.
But the neighborhood is full of three-story apartment buildings, and he is confident that the inviting new store will make up for any reduction in gasoline revenue.
“We are going to make money in the future – I just want everyone’s health to improve,” said Younes.
“And I hope that one day, with God’s blessing, I will build more gas stations,” he added.