New Milford travel plaza opens, offering fuel, food and more

NEW MILFORD — The owner of a property that features a travel plaza concept hopes the site will be a model for others in the state.

Resident Mir Ahmed opened the Sunoco gas station at the corner of Still River Drive and Route 7 earlier this month.

“I want to create a travel plaza concept so you can get all everything all in one place because it gives people a choice,” he said. “And this is the perfect destination place,” he added, citing the location as prime, with thousands of motorists passing the 291 Danbury Road location daily.

“The Route 7 Travel Plaza is an excellent example of modern redevelopment.,” said Karen Pollard, the town’s economic development director. “The owner and developer ... has gone to great lengths to partner with the best available franchise owners and companies in the area to offer a unique combination of benefits to travelers and residents.”

The almost three-acre, flat piece of property now has the largest gas station in Litchfield County, with 16 pumps, according to Ahmed.

A Cumberland Farms with gas pumps and a convenience store opened a few years ago just north of New Milford High School on Route 7 South.

When asked of how the Sunoco will fare with a similar business down the road, Ahmed said “it’s very healthy to have competition.”

“I think we’ll do good,” he said. “People will have choices.”

The 6,500-square-foot former bank building on the Still River Road property features a Sonic. Approval for a 7-Eleven and a Tesla charging station have also been approved.

Additionally, Ahmed is seeking a tenant for the remaining 1,000-square-foot space in the building.

Ahmed said the 7-Eleven is expected to be open sometime mid- to late-October. In the meantime, scaled-down offerings such candy, snacks and beverages are available to purchase inside while construction continues.

“It’s a good brand, strong image and they have good coffee,” Ahmed said of why he chose 7-Eleven.

The Sunoco is the 20th gas station in which he is involved in the state. He also owns the Citgo on Route 202 in Marble Dale and Valero on Route 7 at the corner of Lanesville Road in New Milford.

Steve Berney said he is pleased to be Ahmed’s business partner for Sonic and looks forward to the travel plaza’s contributions to the community.

The location has provided nearly 50 jobs to residents so far, most of them from New Milford.

Sonic has hired 35 individuals, with the majority of them high school students from New Milford.

“And we plan to be involved in the community and do charitable work,” Berney said.

Berney and Ahmed share a similar business philosophy: They want to develop successful businesses and provide a healthy, positive work environment for their employees.

“Thank you to Mir and his team for their investment in New Milford,” said Mayor Pete Bass. “From Sonic, to the gas station and convenience store, plus the Tesla charging facility, this investment will create jobs, the availability of an electric charging station, and the convenience of gas and convenience items on the northbound side of Route 7 and Still River benefiting our residents and those traveling to and from New Milford.”