BURT – Loran Bommer, a lawyer by trade, has embarked on a new and different business venture: Olcott Harbor Resort, consisting of a gas station/convenience store with a deli, a 10-room motel, an RV park, buses from 70 stations, a restaurant and four cabins for rent, all at 5764 West Lake Road.
“The wheels are already moving,” Bommer said. “I just have to prime it.”
Bommer recalls businesses that operated on the property from the 1980s to 2005. Currently, no other gas stations are open in the immediate area; the nearest is 4 miles away in the center of Newfane.
“When I saw this property, I said ‘wow, that’s interesting,'” Bommer said. “I had bought some flowers on the street here, saw it was for sale, thought of the opportunity and made the phone call.”
Once his family accepted the idea, he bought the property in January 2020.
The gas station and convenience store are named “18 to 18”, reflecting their location on Route 18 near Eighteen Mile Creek.
Bommer said the gas station will sell a variety of fuels — gasoline, diesel, non-ethanol for boats — and will house electric vehicle charging stations as well as horse hitching stations.
This week, Bommer was still fixing and stocking the convenience store. When he checked out the building after buying it, he found advertisements from 2005 still inside, as well as original key rings from the nearby Harbor Inn restaurant, which he is in the process of restoring.
The 18-18 Deli, once set up, will serve ready-to-eat meals including sandwiches, pizzas, fish fry dinners and “specials”.
“There will probably be a weekly special like goulash one day and beef stew the next,” Bommer said.
When the 18-18 renovations are complete, Bommer said he will focus on finishing work on the nearby chalets, which are currently under construction. The cabins will be available for rent year-round, he said. The motorhome park is already in use; Bommer said he was still trying to get Wi-Fi coverage there.
The building that once housed the Harbor Inn restaurant has a bar, banquet hall and working pizza oven. Beyond cosmetic flaws and some outdated amenities, Bommer said, “Lots of furniture and personality, it’s all still there.”
Once that building is functional again, Bommer said he will be looking for a conservator to occupy it.
As for the motel, also called Harbor Inn, Bommer bought a self-service kiosk and placed it outside, where customers can start renting a room. The name printed on the kiosk is “Harbour Inn”, reflecting its roots in Australia, he noted.
Bommer hopes to open 18-18 this weekend, but as of Thursday he was still waiting for a few licenses from New York State, including a food permit.
Although not open for business, Bommer pointed out, the parking lot is a good place to catch the Independence Day fireworks show at Olcott on Sunday.