Having opened Home Run Oil in 2000, Jeff and Shelly Erickson are now providing more than fuel for home and vehicle.
The new owners of Home Run Short Stop, formerly Baycrest Fuel and C Store near the top of Baycrest Hill, the Ericksons and their crew offer a wide selection of convenience items, a kitchen serving everything from ready-to-go hot breakfast sandwiches to jaw-stretching double-burgers to an impressive selection of soft-serve ice cream from early morning until the evening hours.
There’s also an ATM machine.
And, oh yes, with four pumps in front of Short Stop, they also offer diesel, unleaded and premium, as well as propane.
Enlarging their East End Road-based Home Run Oil business has been a consideration for years, according to Shelly Erickson.
“It was one of those things where we built Home Run and invested everything we had into it. That was our retirement,” said Erickson, who grew up in the fuel business.
Her father, Brant Edens, and uncle, Dick Edens, owned and operated Terminal Oil Sales on the Spit. In 1987, Jeff Erickson began working for Terminal Oil and continued working there after Petro Marine purchased the business.
“Then, through a series of events, we started Home Run Oil,” said Erickson of she and her husband combining their know-how to begin their own fuel operation.
With nine full-time employees, Home Run provides fuel at the East End address, and delivers to customers from Clam Gulch to the head of Kachemak Bay.
After the city of Homer launched a project to bring another fuel, natural gas, to the southern Kenai Peninsula, the Ericksons found themselves faced with how to keep their employees working.
“Just because government decides natural gas is a preferred vendor doesn’t take care of people’s lives that are affected by a job,” said Erickson.
“We had to choose to either grow by buying into the market a different way or choose to put our heads in the sand.”
Growth was their answer.
“It’s a risk for us,” said Erickson of what she considers their “new adventure. “We’ve never been involved in food, but we’re excited about it and hoping we’ll get local support.”
Short Stop’s eight employees, including the Erickson’s daughter Jessie and Short Stop manager Robin Jaime, work two eight-hour shifts. Some are full-time, some part-time.
Through the month of January, the Short Stop spotlight is on the Baycrest Burger, a towering two-patty treat with mushrooms and bacon. Don’t expect thin, pre-made patties on this monster burger. The thick, juicy, double meat serving is topped with any of four different cheeses, lettuce, tomatoes, onions and pickles — almost more than a bun can hold — and paired with crispy fries or tater tots. Call ahead and it will be waiting when you arrive to enjoy as you continue your travels or in the seven-table dining area.
It is only one of many items on the menu.
“We have two different breakfast sandwiches,” said Lorna Sparks, one of Short Stop’s cooks. “And we are working on adding a breakfast burrito.”
Hot dogs, hot and cold sandwiches, chicken and halibut baskets and a selection of appetizers round out the menu. An espresso machine serves Kaladi Brothers Coffee. There’s soft-service ice cream that comes in 30 different flavors. There are homemade cookies.
“I think there’s a lot of hidden gems on the food side that people don’t know about,” said Erickson.
Over the next few months, the public will see more changes as the Ericksons put their personal stamp on the Baycrest business. The first goal is to get better lighting under the yellow-rimmed, fuel-pump covering canopy. There also are plans to add an outdoor eating area that basks in views of Kachemak Bay and the mountains beyond.
Although Home Run Oil’s cash card that offers an eight-cents-a gallon fuel discount has not been instituted at Baycrest, it still is available at East End Road.
“It’s really a process,” said Erickson of the new business venture. “I’m hoping by the summer we’re really going full steam ahead.”
One more offering in the planning takes advantage of Short Stop’s convenient location across the Sterling Highway from the Homer Transfer Site: the Dump-Run Special.
“We’re really excited about this,” said Erickson of her and her husband’s decision to expand. “We chose to move forward.”
McKibben Jackinsky can be reached at email@example.com.
Home Run Short Stop
Owners: Jeff and Shelly Erickson
Address: Mile 169 Sterling Highway
Fuel available 24 hours a day, seven days a week; convenience store open Monday through Friday 6 a.m.-8 p.m., Saturday through Sunday 7 a.m.-8 p.m.; kitchen open daily 7 a.m.-7 p.m.
Offers diesel, unleaded, premium, propane; a convenience store; ice cream; Kaladi Brothers coffee; menu of food including breakfast sandwiches and burgers.