Wildwood Gas N’ Roll Convenience Hub Hits a Royal Flush- Rick Langenberg

The wait for convenience and gas on a 24/7 basis is finally over in Cripple Creek.

In addition, most gamblers, and visiting motorists will no longer have to try their luck at making it back home before getting some needed petro for their vehicles or snacks and food items on the go.

Last week, the official opening occurred for the Gas N’ Roll convenience store and gas station, developed by the Wildwood casino. The store, located directly across from the casino on Hwy. 67, is stocked with more than 2,800 items. They run the gamut from snacks, drinks and gourmet coffee, to grab-and-go hot food, move rentals, and more importantly, gas, with eight state-of-the-art pumps. And this week, Gas N’ Roll operators are scheduled to appear before the Cripple Creek City Council for a permit for Speer Liquors, which will lease out a portion of the store for an independent liquor outlet.

This area of town has boasted of previous convenience outlets, such as Buck’s Barn and a Total Station, which were quite popular and run by former community icons Bill Buckhanan and Billy Degarmo.

“It has been a popular area for a convenience store for years,” admitted Cripple Creek Mayor Bruce Brown, a long-time resident. He cited the convenience of the new outlet as a big plus, as most visitors enter and exit Cripple Creek in this section of town.” It is something we have needed for a long time,” added the mayor.

But for nearly 10 years, this main entry area to the downtown has been without a convenience store outlet, leaving Cripple Creek with just one gas station choice on Teller One, and out-of-the way for many gamblers and visitors. Plus, the town has never had a 24/7 convenience spot.

“This is a win-win for us, the city and the community,” said Kevin Werner, general manager of the Wildwood casino. “We are happy to do business in Cripple Creek. We try to be as hospitable as we can.”

The Gas N’ Roll, which maintains a casino theme and offers benefits for Wildwood patrons, featured a soft opening around the weekend of the Cripple Creek Ice Fest. So far, Werner and other Wildwood managers say the response has been outstanding.

“I didn’t realize you guys were going to have this many items,” said Wildwood Marketing Director Andy Jones, when mentioning the initial response from Gas N’ Roll patrons. He especially mentioned the movie rental section as a big hit among customers.

Werner said the store operators are willing to add more items if people desire them. “We are willing to do this within reason,” said the Wildwood general manager, who views the store as a huge community asset.

Werner said that the idea of having a major convenience outlet on the east side of town, adjacent to their gaming establishment, has been a long-time goal of the Wildwood. He stated that the Wildwood wanted to build a facility shortly after it opened for business in 2008. But he conceded that the casino company had to deal with a few financial challenges at the time.

The project then took on a life of its own last year, with Werner appearing before the city council on a regular basis. The actual facility was constructed within a six-month period. Altogether, he estimates the price tag for the project at $1.5 million-plus.

From an economic perspective, the store opening represents another major non-gaming business surge in the community. In the last year, Cripple Creek has experienced more robust non-gaming activity. More specifically, the town has seen higher sales tax revenue and better visitor and tourist numbers.

This trend is expected to continue this year, especially with the new Gas N’ Roll convenience outlet.

And for gamblers, the store offers some great deals.

In fact, Wildwood Casino Miner’s Club members will receive discounts on purchases at Gas N’ Roll and can also redeem Miner’s Club points and comps for gas. For a limited time, Miner’s Club members can win free gas for a year by playing at Wildwood Casino. For more information on how to win, visit the Miner’s Club.

For more information about Gas N’ Roll and the Wildwood casino, visitwww.playwildwood.com or call 719-244-9700.