Tim Kelly never set out to run a gas station; but when he bought a Napa Valley property that included a defunct gas station, he decided to resurrect it. Kelly’s Fuel and Provisions is no ordinary gas station. Located in Yountville, home to the French Laundry (and the largest concentration of Michelin stars per capita in the world), the gas station’s mission is “to create a hub for the local community and a place with unique merchandise for the practical traveler.”
Kelly (his day job is Director of Construction for the Hillstone Restaurant Group) offers a mix of high and low goods, gourmet chocolates sit alongside packs of M&M’s, in the gas station’s convenience shop. On any given day, you can find vineyard and construction workers shopping next to well-heeled tourists and winery owners. And for those of us who keep our tanks perilously low, having a place to fill up on gas mid-valley (albeit at boutique prices) is a welcome relief.
Kelly stocks the gas station shop with a range of offerings, from boutique wine to soda. Aluminum and glass roll-up doors lead to a flexible space inside (the trestle tables are easily moved) and Kelly has plans to use the space for wine tastings in the evening. The sole gas pump; Kelly points out that the economics of one gas pump don’t really make for good business; his enterprise is much more about the store as a whole.
Kelly renovated the space with local Napa architect Paul Kelley; plywood tables and shelves, metal fixtures, and a concrete floor are in keeping with the look and feel of the original gas station. San Francisco’s Sightglass Coffee is the brew of choice. Red metal stools add a cheerful note. An art wall displays a piece by Joel Ross entitled Measuring Texas. It’s comprised of 880 photographs of every mile marker on Interstate 10.
Kelly’ offers “unique merchandise for the practical traveler.” With plenty of Napa wine available nearby (often at rarefied prices), Kelly keeps the majority of his offerings at under $40 with handy half bottles for the casual picnicker.
Photography by Mimi Giboin for Remodesita.