Ground broken for gas station

Published 9:27 pm Wednesday, June 26, 2013

A drawing of what the four-pump, 4,000-square-foot convenience store will look like this fall.

A drawing of what the four-pump, 4,000-square-foot convenience store will look like this fall.

The Pokagon Band broke ground Thursday on its first investment on tribal property, a four-pump fueling station with gasoline and diesel fuel and a 4,000-square-foot convenience store opening this fall on M-51, just south of Four Winds Dowagiac casino.

Tribal members will be able to buy gas at what may be a Mobil station without paying excise or sales taxes.

For Mno-Bmadsen, the economic development arm of the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi, this marks the tribe’s third economic development venture, along with subsidiaries Seven Generations Architecture and Engineering, LLC, of Benton Harbor, established in February 2012, and Accu-Mold, LLC, in Portage, acquired at the end of 2012.

“This groundbreaking is about the gas station,” Mno-Bmadsen President and CEO Troy Clay said, “but it’s also the third thing we’ve created and invested in. We have two profitable operations, with more to come.”

Mno-Bmadsen and its five-member staff operates from The Business Center in the former National Copper Products plant at 415 E. Prairie Ronde St. in Dowagiac.

The tribe’s partners on this project are “Seven Gen,” Mercer Construction and J&H Oil in Grand Rapids.

Mno-Bmadsen Chairman Eugene Magnuson, of LaPorte, Ind., is property manager at Four Winds Hartford.

“We’re very excited to give an advance look at our c-store,” Magnuson said. “This development will open in the fall. We’ll let the date out as we get closer. This is a significant next step in the economic development of the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi. This location is important to us because Dowagiac is home to our tribal government as well as many of our citizens.”

Business analyst Michael Kasper, co-valedictorian of Union High School’s Class of 2007, joined the tribe after graduating from Dartmouth.

“State excise taxes are 19 cents a gallon,” Kasper said, “Sales tax is six percent. It works out to about 10 percent of the price of gas.”

Mno-Bmadsen — roughly translated, “good path” — is the economic development enterprise chartered by the Pokagon Band to conduct all non-gaming, for-profit business for the tribe.

Organized as a diversified holding company, it invests in and acquires new and existing companies within targeted industries, with a focus on long-term sustainability in both purpose and profitability.