Gas pumps back in service in Toponas, owners driven to revive former general store

Two South Routt famlies are transforming the Toponas General Store into Egeria Park. The new owners have installed new automated fuel dispensers offering gas to customers 24 hours a day, seven days a week. They also have plans to open the convenience store, as well as adding a liquor store to the location.
Frank Hewes/Courtesy photo

The gas pumps are in and open for business with the Hewes and Horn families of South Routt working hard to transform former Toponas General Store into Egeria Park, which will also include a liquor and convenience store once fully open.

“The one thing we just got done a little bit ago is that our pumps are now open 24/7,” said Frank Hewes, who was speaking for the new owners. “We are almost perfectly halfway between Steamboat and Vail, just south of Yampa, right where you turn off to go to Kremmling and the highway splits.”

Hewes said the plan has been to get the pumps offering 85-octane unleaded, 87-octane mid-grade and 91-octane non-ethanol premium up and running since the group purchased the location. He said Egeria Park also offers clear diesel.

Hewes said the process of getting the pumps up and running has taken the owners a bit longer than he had hoped.

“The way things are in the country right now, everything’s a process,” Hewes said. “We’ve been waiting on the dispensers for almost — well, it will be a year here in a couple of months.”

The pumps have been operational for the past two weeks, giving locals and those passing through an opportunity to purchase gasoline closer to home or while they’re on their way to Vail or Steamboat.

He added that the liquor store is open, but not fully staffed at this point.

“We haven’t set hours or anything like that yet, but the liquor store is open right now as long as somebody’s here,” Hewes said. “I hesitate to tell people we are open. I mean the pumps are open 24/7. We definitely wanted to get that done, but there’s just so much work needed in here that it’s not like we are officially open.”

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He said the work to fully open the convenience store continues, and that will most likely happen in late spring or early summer. The Egeria Park is a tribute to the pioneers who settled in the 1880s, according to a 1929 article in the Steamboat Pilot.

Settlers including Samuel Reid, George Crossan and Edwin McFarland came to upper Egeria Park and homesteaded ranches in the area. They were followed by the stagecoaches, railroads, cattle, grain and sawmills that helped Egeria Park become an agricultural and economic hub in the area.

Many of those driving through South Routt have no idea of the rich history of the area, but the Hewes and Horns are hoping to change that with the business’ new name.

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