Premier Energy celebrates grand opening of CountryMark in Brownstown



Of the 120 CountryMark gas stations in Indiana and neighboring states, the one recently redone in Brownstown has something the others don’t.

It’s the first one to offer E85 Flex Fuel and Unleaded88, a 15% ethanol blend product.

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It’s also one of the first fuel stations and the first farmer-owned fuel station in Indiana to bring E15 to the public for sale. That’s a blend of 15% ethanol and 85% conventional gasoline. A federal waiver was signed into law May 31 that facilitated the year-round sale of E15.

The fuel at the station is made from American crude oil, refined by CountryMark in Mt. Vernon. The ethanol used to make the E15 blend is made from corn grown by Midwestern farmers.

Consumer benefits of E15, also known as Unleaded88, include increased octane, improved engine performance, reduced carbon emissions and helping American farmers by creating local demand for their corn.

On Thursday, officials from CountryMark, Premier Companies, the Indiana Soybean Alliance and the Indiana Corn Marketing Council were joined by employees and customers for a ribbon-cutting ceremony of the rehauled station at 1300 W. Commerce St., Brownstown.

“We’re excited about this site,” said Harold Cooper, chief executive officer of Seymour-based Premier Companies. “This really does represent Indiana commerce. This station really does derive — its business, its product — from Indiana, both on the fuel side as well as the ethanol and biodiesel side.”

Since Premier tends to do more business-to-business work than consumer-oriented business, Cooper said this is a fairly big thing for his company to do.

“As far as we know, this is the first site where consumers can come in and really participate with choice — anywhere from 0% ethanol all the way up to 85%,” he said. “We’re extremely excited to be able to offer the Unleaded88. It’s got that 15% ethanol. That is huge to Indiana.”

On Thursday, it was 6 cents less per gallon.

“If you’ve got a vehicle since 2001 that’s been manufactured, we think you’re going to like that choice,” he said. “We’re so honored to be presenting that.”

Also, within the past year, the company purchased 1.6 acres of property off of State Road 135 next to the new fuel station to add a diesel station with two pumps. That includes a biodiesel option.

“The pump down there allows customers to choose 5 to 20% biodiesel,” Cooper said. “Again, I think that shows strong association with agriculture with this community to offer that wide range of choice, and we think our community should respond and will respond to that.”

In late 2018, Premier Energy began new construction and remodel of a current fuel and convenience store site to better serve the needs and customers.

The old location offered CountryMark Dieselex-4 On-Road and Off-Road, kerosene, 87 E-10, midgrade and premium unleaded gasoline products in addition to a small grab-n-go snack item convenience store.

While the new location offers gasoline and diesel products, it also offers the “green” options made possible by installing new blender pumps in partnership with the Indiana Soybean Alliance and Indiana Corn Marketing Council.

The biodiesel-blended fuels are CountryMark Bio-Dieselex-4 On-Road and B5, B10, B15 and B20 blending options at the pump, while the ethanol-blended fuels include Unleaded88 (E15) and E-85.

Phil Ramsey, a Shelby County farmer who raises corn and soybeans, represented the Indiana Soybean Alliance during Thursday’s ceremony.

He said he’s excited about the biodiesel option at the Brownstown station.

“I have pushed for it for 20-plus years,” Ramsey said. “When it first came out, I wanted biodiesel, and I have had it. I have not had it at the highest level that I would like to have it, so I was excited that we have an opportunity to help participate in installation of the blender pump here.”

Decatur County farmer Tim Gauck represented the corn ethanol side. He’s a director on the Indiana Corn Marketing Council.

He said ethanol is cleaner for the environment, lowers carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide greenhouse emissions, improves engine efficiency and costs less at the pump. He also said cars competing in the Indianapolis 500 run on ethanol.

With the new 3,000-square-foot convenience store, it features the Premier Kitchen with fresh made-to-order meal choices, including biscuits and gravy, bagels, English muffins, croissants and more for breakfast and chicken sandwiches, tenderloins, hamburgers and more for lunch. Next week, Charley Biggs Chicken will be added.

There also is a dine-in area with device charging stations, fountain drinks, coffee, cappuccino, snacks, candy and more.

Belinda Puetz, director of marketing for CountryMark, said Thursday was a great day for the entities involved and the customers.

“Today, Premier brings to Brownstown energy choices, and choices are so important to consumers who have a lot of different needs and wants. Today, by bringing E15 to the market, they’ve got yet another product choice that they can choose from,” she said.

“We want to thank very much the consumers that are here today,” she said. “You are the early innovators. You are the leaders. You are the people who try new things. Your’e intellectually curious, and we’re grateful that you’re willing to try a new product and bring a new product to your community.”

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