Construction on Seymour’s new Signal Food Store at the city’s northeast corner began Monday.
Specifically, it is a remodeling project led by the Scrivener Oil Company, the parent corporation of Signal, which purchased the former Lazy Lee’s convenience store and gas station earlier this year for $270,000 at a public auction.
Sean Bumgarner, vice president for the company based in Ozark, said last Friday afternoon that the project’s general contractor, Missouri Supermarket Builders of Springfield, was scheduled to start work Monday.
“They will remodel the current building that’s there,” Bumgarner explained.
“The facility is around 3,500 square feet, which actually is a bit larger than the average size of our current stores. Once completed, we expect for this to be one of our larger and nicer stores.”
Bumgarner added that the timetable for opening Seymour’s new Signal store has been adjusted.
“Right now, we’re looking at being done by January (of 2021),” he said.
“It’s a little longer than we wanted, but the positive news now is that we’re getting started. Initially, we had hoped to open this December.”
Located at the intersection of U.S. 60, highways C and K in Seymour, this will be the 12th Signal Food Store in the Missouri Ozarks.
In August, Bumgarner and company owner Rich Scrivener visited Seymour and said gas tanks and equipment had been ordered for the store. The company also had cleaned up the 1-acre site in preparation for construction.
In terms of the store’s look, Bumgarner and Scrivener said the plan was for it to have an appearance similar to the current Signal store in Ava, located on the east side of Highway 5 near the intersection of Highways 5 and 14.
They said the plan is to move the front canopy of the former Lazy Lee’s to the west of its current location and add more gas pumps — all to the west.
“This will free up parking in front of the store,” Bumgarner said, adding that the company plans to move its current Subway restaurant at Seymour’s west intersection on the north side U.S. 60 to the new location.
A second food service likely will be brought to the new Signal.
Last week, Scrivener Oil Company purchased a sponsorship of one of the new three-globe lights soon to be installed at the Seymour Downtown Park at the center of the square.
“One thing we enjoy doing is getting involved in the communities we serve,” Bumgarner said.
“Seymour will be no different. We want to play a helpful role in the community ... to get involved in as many local things as possible, anything from civic projects to sponsoring youth sports teams.”
Scrivener Oil Company, the parent company of Signal Food Stores, was established in 1984. Today, there are 11 Signal stores in southern Missouri, including three in Springfield, two in Mansfield and single stores in Ava, Buffalo, Camdenton, Mountain View, Nixa and Ozark.
After graduating from Southwest Missouri State University in Springfield, Scrivener started his career in the oil industry in Chicago, Ill., at Standard Oil. He experienced success with Standard Oil, then decided to head back to Springfield to establish his own company more than 3-1/2 decades ago.
During recent visits to Seymour, Scrivener has beamed when asked about his newest store.
“It’s just an ideal location with a lot of highway traffic,” he said.
“But what impresses me the most is the community. This is a growing city with a very friendly city government and a ton of potential. It’s easy to see that things are moving in the right direction in Seymour, and we’re very happy to be a part of it.”
Bumgarner, who travels U.S. 60 frequently to visit Signal stores east of Seymour, said he was glad he noticed the large sign at the former Lazy Lee’s store announcing the July auction.
“We came to check it out,” he said. “Then Rich ended up buying it,” he added with a smile.
The new Signal will give Seymour a third option for gas in a community that half a century ago had almost 10 gas stations despite half the population of today.
Currently, the only places to purchase gasoline in Seymour are at Casey’s, located on the south side of the intersection of U.S. 60, Highways C and K, and the Food Mart Hot Spot, located on Business 60 in the downtown business district.
Bumgarner said ethanol-free, 91-octane fuel will be available at the new Signal in Seymour, as well as diesel and regular varieties.
He said the current remodeling plan for Seymour’s Signal creates an attractive environment.
“It will look good ... very good,” Bumgarner said. “Once everything is completed, including the new pumps and even a new way of entering the store, I think that people will be very pleased.
“I know that we’re excited about it."