Rutter's closes deal for Scalp Avenue land; broker foresees further development

Sep. 13—JOHNSTOWN, Pa. — The Rutter's gas station and convenience store company has purchased more than eight acres of land at 1609 Scalp Ave., Richland Township, said Bob Varner, broker of record for Pennswood Commercial Realty.

Varner said the deal, closed on Wednesday, has been years in the making.

"It's taken me four years to get here," he said. "It's the longest deal of my career. I'm happy about it, being a Johnstown guy, that it's all coming together. ... It's eight-plus acres. It's a pretty big deal for Johnstown."

Rutter's has nearly 90 locations in central and western Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Maryland. Stores are open 24 hours a day and have made-to-order food counters.

The company's newly acquired land in Richland Township is located between Ollie's Bargain Outlet, 1513 Scalp Ave., and Theatre Drive.

Varner said that there were many issues requiring time to finalize the deal for the vacant land, including state Department of Environmental Protection permits and PennDOT traffic studies, as well as utility planning and agreements with surrounding property owners.

"I give our team — owners, legal advisors, engineers, co-brokers and Rutter's — a lot of credit for shepherding this project through," he said.

Last year, Rutter's site project manager Eric Hershey attended a workshop with the Richland Township Planning Commission to discuss a site plan and a merger of individual parcels of land that would give Rutter's the assurance it needed to buy them.

At that time, Hershey outlined plans for a 10,000-square-foot building, 12 gas dispensers and 45 parking stalls.

As of Wednesday, Richland Township codes officials had not received a building permit application from Rutter's, and Rutter's officials did not return phone calls from the Tribune-Democrat.

However, Varner said that Rutter's is presently bidding out the project and that once site work starts, it normally takes about nine months until the store opens.

Varner foresees the Rutter's project generating more activity for the remaining 16 acres on Scalp Avenue that are ready for development.

"The entire frontage on Scalp from the new Rutter's to Theatre Drive is available for lease and sale, as well as the acreage across from the light at Theatre Drive," Varner said. "This is one of the last untapped areas for commercial development on Scalp, and we see this as a great opportunity to create additional projects for hospitality, retail and medical users in this corridor."

Rutter's website claims it is the oldest vertically integrated food company in the country. In 1747, the Rutter family farm was instituted in York County. Then, in 1921, George and Bud Rutter started their own dairy, the Rutter Bros. Dairy, selling milk and other dairy products to the local area. Further expanding the business, the family's second generation founded Rutter's convenience stores.

Today, Rutter's continues to be headquartered in York County, with its convenience stores, dairy and farm managed by the family's third and fourth generations.