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Historic California gas station, convenience store for sale for $2.7 million

A historic San Luis Obispo County gas station is back on the real estate market after nearly two decades.

Located at 850 Main St. in Cambria, the Cambria General Store is one of just three gas stations in the small coastal town.

It also might be the oldest, continuously operating gas station in San Luis Obispo County, according to the station’s former owner, Daryl Renz, and Melody Coe, president of the Cambria Historical Society’s board of directors.

The Gutierrez family of Cambria has owned and operated the Cambria General Store for nearly 20 years, patriarch Luis Gutierrez said Tuesday.

“I’m almost 75 and I figure it’s time,” Gutierrez said, adding that he plans to retire “and do the things I haven’t been able to do at home.”

His wife, Janet Gutierrez, said she and her family “just decided it was time to move on.”

The Real Estate Company of Cambria listed the property for sale for $1.85 million. The business is on the market separately for $850,000.

“Here’s an opportunity that only comes around every decade or two!” the firm said in its listing.

The Cambria General Store gas station and convenience store is on the real estate market for the first time in nearly two decades. The Real Estate Company of Cambria listed the property for sale for $1.85 million, and the business for sale for $850,000.
The Cambria General Store gas station and convenience store is on the real estate market for the first time in nearly two decades. The Real Estate Company of Cambria listed the property for sale for $1.85 million, and the business for sale for $850,000.

SLO County gas station, convenience store for sale

According to the listing, the 7,350-square-foot lot on Cambria’s main drag features two buildings totaling 2,260 square feet of space.

The 1,260-square-foot main building serves as a working gas station and convenience store, while the second building, which measures about 1,000 square feet, currently houses a bookstore and a beer-making facility, the listing said.

There are also a shipping container and two storage sheds in the back of the property, the listing said.

“The Cambria General Store business is also available for sale, with a separate contract and a separate escrow, contingent on both escrows closing concurrently to the same buyer,” the listing read.

The business’s sales price includes a liquor license that allows customers to buy beer, wine and hard alcohol for offsite use.

Realtor Bob Kasper of The Real Estate Company of Cambria explained Tuesday that because the sale involves two different kinds of transactions — real property and bulk sale business — the entities must be sold on separate escrows.

Luis and Janet Gutierrez own the business with their son, Chris, while Chris Gutierrez owns the property.

The gas station isn’t tied to a particular fuel company, but buys gasoline on the open market, Luis Gutierrez said.

Kasper said the sale should be made to the same buyer, making the total price $2.7 million.

The Cambria General Store gas station and convenience store is on the real estate market for the first time in nearly two decades. The Real Estate Company of Cambria listed the property for sale for $1.85 million, and the business for sale for $850,000.
The Cambria General Store gas station and convenience store is on the real estate market for the first time in nearly two decades. The Real Estate Company of Cambria listed the property for sale for $1.85 million, and the business for sale for $850,000.

History of Cambria property

Although the Cambria General Store is in the running for the oldest gas station in town, Renz said he doesn’t know for sure exactly when the structures were built.

According to a 1998 report by the Cambria Historical Society, Cambria Pines Beach Co. sold the property to Elizabeth Robinson on May 1, 1939.

Renz said his paperwork shows that Robinson purchased the property for just $10.

“The deed said only a white buyer could purchase it through Jan. 1, 2020,” Renz said, a racist clause similar to those found in many restrictive property covenants across San Luis Obispo County.

A Dec. 12, 1934, advertisement in The Cambrian newspaper shows that the property was home to a Pioneer Service Station owned by Ben F. Prough, who also sold hamburgers, chili and cold drinks there, the historical society report says.

Jim and Estelle Fry bought the store and property from Robinson’s estate in 1946, the report says.

In 1948, it served as Cambria’s Red Cross emergency first aid station.

The report shows the property was owned by several other people in recent decades, including Tom Cochron’s CB&H company; Darla Bottel and her investors; Ken Meyer and Laurel and Daryl Renz.

Daryl Renz said Tuesday that he sold the gas station business and property to the Gutierrez family in 2005, carrying the loan on most of the $750,000 purchase price because “we truly wanted Chris to own it. He’d worked for us for years.”

For more information about the business and property, call 805-927-3200 or visit therealestatecompanyofcambria.com.