Carbon Green opens C-store in Ionia, Michigan

By Ann Bailey | October 08, 2015

Cars have been streaming into NuVu Fuels in Ionia, Michigan, this week.

Mitch Miller, CEO of Carbon Green Bioenergy LLC, opened the convenience store, which sells blended fuels and locally-grown food, on Monday, Oct. 5. Carbon Green, which produces 50 MMgy annually, is seven miles down the road from the new c-store and provides the ethanol.

Miller is a believer in selling ethanol directly to the consumer and the consumers are buying that premise. “We’ve had an overwhelming response,” Miller said.

On the day NuVu Fuels opened, 2,500 gallons of fuel was sold. Forty percent of the gasoline sales during the 14 hours the store was open were a mixture of higher level blended fuels, Miller said.

Meanwhile, NuVu Fuels also sells locally produced products including milk, ice cream and eggs and the coffee is ground on site. “We also put a kitchen in and we’re making our own homemade pizzas, broasted chicken, and eventually, move into sandwiches and salads also. “We’re trying to bring a healthier, more local approach, not only to fuel, but also to our in-store offering,” Miller said.

Though, he is happy with the response from consumers, he’s not satisfied that 40 percent of the first day’s gasoline sales were higher blended fuels. Miller quickly wants to bring the percentage of NuVu’s total gasoline sales to 70 percent higher blended fuels. 

Besides simply selling fuels, NuVu Fuels is educating consumers on ethanol’s benefits. Staff are being trained to answer questions and point out to customers the benefits and pamphlets about E85 are at every pump. Customers have shown interest in what Miller and his employees are telling them about ethanol and appreciate having a choice of which fuels to buy. “Nine out of 10 are very open to discussing the differences in the fuels and the benefits,” he says.

It’s been rewarding for Miller to see customers’ positive response to NuVu Fuels. “We’re having fun. We’ve wanted to do resale directly out of the ethanol plant for the last seven years and we’re finally got to the point where we’re able to engage the public directly.”

Plans are to aquire a second c-store by the end of the year, Miller said.