2018-03-29 / Front Page

Jumbo Auto Services Under Development

By Jocelyn O’Neil


The 3.5-acre site includes a 3,500-square-foot convenience store, 5,000 square feet of additional commercial retail space, five gas pumps with 10 fuel positions and a car wash. (Photo by Jen Carter) The 3.5-acre site includes a 3,500-square-foot convenience store, 5,000 square feet of additional commercial retail space, five gas pumps with 10 fuel positions and a car wash. (Photo by Jen Carter) Portsmouth locals Nick and Joe Giacobbi have developed a plan to open three additional combination convenience store/ gas station/car washes in the next 18 months. The owners of the original Patriot Petroleum at 3302 East Main Road, in Portsmouth, saw an opportunity when oil industry regulations and the evolution of fueling stations suggested the number of gas stations on Aquidneck Island was about to decline.

The second Patriot Petroleum location at 2340 West Main Road is set to open May 1. The third location will be at the intersection of Aquidneck Avenue and East Main Road in Middletown, by combining two land parcels that abut each other: 1225 Aquidneck Ave., the current site of the Bay Willows Motel, and 533 East Main Road, a vacant lot. The fourth location will be on Forest Avenue.


Joe and Nick Giacobbi have worked with their father to grow the family business to multiple locations across the island. (Photo by Jen Carter) Joe and Nick Giacobbi have worked with their father to grow the family business to multiple locations across the island. (Photo by Jen Carter) In 2012, new underground gas tank regulations mandated that single-walled tanks were to be removed and replaced by double-walled tanks by Dec. 22, 2017, at a cost of about $400,000.

“We knew the market was going to change, that these stations would probably not be there much longer because of the cost,” Nick Giacobbi said. “We have a private investor. He likes what we’re doing, likes our vision and that’s why we can [build] at the rate we can. If we did it on our own, it would be one every 10 years instead of three in 18 months.”

He declined to name the private investor, and he said that the ownership percentage is split. “I’d rather have 50 percent of 10 locations instead of 100 percent of two,” he said.

The brothers grew up around gas stations. Their father, George Giacobbi, opened his first gas station in 1976, a two-bay service station at 3302 East Main Road, where the original Patriot Petroleum station stands today.

In college, the brothers chose majors that would support their business pursuits. Joe, 28, studied finance at Providence College, while Nick, 35, studied business at Salve Regina University.

After graduating from college in 2011, Joe Giacobbi took over management and ownership of Patriot Petroleum. “My goal in taking over was to stabilize the business and then hopefully attract more businesses, which we’ve done,” he said.

In 2013, he took over the original location from his father and eventually changed the name from Irving gas station to Patriot Petroleum. One of his first issues was dealing with businesses that leased portions of the building.

“We tried to build the business up and establish it for someone else who would want to run it,” he said. “But it was like as soon as we started leasing the place out, the individual operators started going down the drain… They weren’t doing a good job with maintaining the cleanliness and inventory, and they were struggling to maintain loyalty with their customers… so I took over.”

Last month, Homemade Donuts from Fall River moved into the original East Main location.

The 16-acre parcel for the second location was purchased by Benzine Development, LLC., Nick Giacobbi’s development company, in July 2017 for $1.45 million.

“We are developing 3.5 acres of the site, improving it with a 3,500-square-foot convenience store, 5,000 square feet of additional commercial retail space, five gas pumps with 10 fuel positions and a car wash,” Nick Giacobbi said.

The gas station/convenience store/car wash will have a drive-up window to accommodate an independent business or operation. Joe Giacobbi said Homemade Donuts will “most likely” be the business that fills that role.

The traffic patterns and potential noise levels raised concerns from neighbors and had to be addressed before permits could be approved and construction could start.

“We had a lot of people come and express issues and concerns [they had], and we addressed those concerns,” Joe Giacobbi said. “We got a traffic expert to come and do a traffic analysis and there was a lot of revisions of the plan.”

The Portsmouth Zoning Board of Review approved three special-use permits (separate permits for the car wash, drive-thru window and retail space) to Benzine Development, LLC, in 2016.

In addition, the zoning board stipulated that the number of parking spaces be reduced from 50 to 34; the hours of operation be from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m., with deliveries restricted to that time frame; the noise level was not to exceed 75 decibels (65 at abutting residential properties); and that improvements be made to the sidewalk along Union Street for pedestrian safety.

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