The civil unrest sparked by the shooting of Jacob Blake by a Kenosha police officer has caused Kenosha gas stations east of I-94 thousands of dollars daily because of the curfew that has forced station owners to shut down their pumps and close early.
The timing couldn’t be worse, they say, as they are being forced to close during hours that are usually among the busiest of the day. Some often see a higher volume of business during the evening hours.
Hamza Abujad, manager of Bono Gas Station, 1401 75th St., said he has lost more than $3,000 a day in sales of gas and convenience store items, including cigarettes and snacks.
“Give or take, we have lost $27,000 since the curfew was imposed,” he said.
Bono usually closes at 1 a.m. on weekdays and 3 a.m. on weekends. The station opens at 8 a.m. One night during the past week, the station was still open at 7:30 p.m., a half hour past curfew.
“We tried to stay open, but the police told us we had to be closed,” Abujad said.
Bono, like many gas stations, sells a wide range of items, including face masks, T-shirts, cologne, bread, soft drinks and cigarettes. Many of its customers are regulars who usually buy other items when they stop for gas.
Maher Shahin of Ultimate Convenience Center, 6007 Sheridan Road, said closing early has cost the station his father owns in lost sales. He did not disclose the total but noted those sales would have included cigarettes and other items. Located on a main thoroughfare into the downtown area, the station often has customers who come from Illinois or other parts of the city on their way downtown. Ultimate usually closes as midnight.
American Gas, 2828 75th St., has an attached liquor store. It sells alcohol and convenience store items. It has been closing at 6:30 p.m., a half hour before the start of curfew.
“We have lost a lot of business, $500 a day,” said Leticia Gresham, the owner’s daughter who manages the convenience and liquor stores.
Store owners had already suffered lost revenue because of the COVID-19 pandemic that has kept a lot of people at home, not heading to their job sites.
During the curfew, station personnel get an alert on their mobile devices telling them to shut off the pumps and begin closing. Not only can they not sell gasoline, they also cannot sell other items. If they ignore the curfew, they will get a visit by the police and could face a citation or worst.
Shutting off the pumps prevent people who may wish to use credit and debit cards to make gasoline purchases.