New gas station opens east of downtown Aiken

Sep. 9—People whose cars are running low on gas have another option near downtown Aiken.

Atul Patel recently opened the Aiken Travel Center on the northeast corner of the intersection of Richland Avenue and Beaufort Street.

The travel center consists of a BP gas station, Bapa's Food Mart and a liquor and beer store.

Patel said recently "Bapa" is used in India similar to the word "Papa" in the United States.

He added he is the owner and operator of Mo's Discount Tobacco — located one block north of the new store — and he plans to share the same commitment to customer service at the new store that he has shown at the old store.

The store also features a quote from Hindu guru Pramukh Swami Maharaj — In the joy of others, we find our own — above the food counter.

Patel said the quote reminds him of his commitment to customer service.

The Aiken City Council voted unanimously to approve an ordinance allowing for the new store's construction April 15, 2019.

Specifically, the ordinance rezoned a roughly four acre property located between Richland Avenue, Beaufort Street, Gaston Road and Barnwell Avenue from Industrial to General Business.

Aiken County property tax records indicate Patel purchased the property through a corporation, Tulsiraj Inc., Nov. 28, 2018 for $360,000 from Prothro Rental Properties.

The property has since been bifurcated into two properties: one including the southern two acres and one including the northern two acres.

The gas station, convenience store and liquor store are located on the southern property.

The northern property has not yet been developed.

A concept plan for its development will have to be submitted to the city and approved by the city council prior to development.