The roundabout at 50th and Main streets is now a bit brighter at night thanks to the Dec. 20 opening of a new Kum & Go convenience store.

The store has a tall sign that should be easily visible from Interstate 44. While I was there last week, I noticed that the license plates in the parking lot were from all over — Florida, Texas and Illinois. Of course, you might expect that with post-Christmas travel. But it's important to note that this new location along the interstate will service some out-of-state customers who are spending money and generating sales tax revenue for the city as they pass through the area.

In the scheme of things, that might not seem like a big deal right now, but it will add up by the end of the year. That will be especially true when you add the sales tax revenue from this Kum & Go to the sales tax revenue that will be generated by a new truck stop and a new hotel that are in the works for Prigmor Avenue and Interstate 44, east of Range Line Road. It's good for the city's coffers when someone new taps into the moving stream of money that is Interstate 44.

This new Kum & Go Marketplace is similar to the store that Kum & Go recently opened at 3434 S. Range Line Road. It’s a different representation of the convenience store concept in that it is much more open and inviting. You have room to move around in this store. The new store uses 6,000 square feet and includes a small dining area. This type of store typically employs about 20 to 25 people.

The kitchen is an open layout. You can get doughnuts, pizza, hot dogs and made-to-order sandwiches. There's also a coffee bar.

Kum & Go has about 430 stores in about a dozen states throughout the Midwest, according to Dun & Bradstreet. Kum & Go, founded in 1959 by W.A. Krause and Tony Gentle, is the nation's fifth-largest private owner and operator of convenience stores.

On the market

Want to buy a convention center?

The Joplin Convention and Trade Center, 3535-3615 S. Hammons Blvd., is for sale for $3,950,000. The property has 33,072 square feet of space with lots of parking. It sits on 12.54 acres. The center can hold up to 3,600 people in a theater-style setting or 2,700 in a banquet-style setting.

The property, which closed in February, has been on the market for about five months. There has been at least one showing and a few inquiries, but no takers as of yet.

Gil Stevens, with Keller Williams of Joplin, said the building is in great shape structurally, but it would need to be updated.

The property was part of the hotel and convention center empire that flourished under the late John Q. Hammons, a native of Fairview in Newton County. It was built in 1987. For many years, it was the largest meeting site in the region. It was built in connection with the Joplin Holiday Inn, another Hammons property, that at one time had the largest number of hotel rooms in the region. Work to convert that hotel into a DoubleTree by Hilton has stopped.

New dealership

The workers will be putting the pedal to the metal to complete construction of the new Fletcher Subaru dealership by the March 1 opening date.

The dealership is relocating from 908 Illinois Ave. to a much larger and more visible site just south of Rex Avenue on East 20th Street. The site, which is a few blocks east of Range Line Road, will certainly catch the eyes of Walmart shoppers who use the East 20th Street entrance to the supercenter. Just remember that the 15th Street Walmart is one of the most visited places in all of Joplin, according to city traffic surveys.

The manager of the local dealership said the new location will be a full-service, stand-alone dealership.

I believe that this dealership has been constructed on the site of the former Snyder Construction Co., which was destroyed by the 2011 tornado. This is another step — a big one in terms of land — on our road to recovery.

If you have news about something that’s happening on Range Line Road or Main Street, call 417-623-3480, ext. 7250; email or send a fax to Wally Kennedy at 417-623-8598.

Wally Kennedy is a reporter and columnist for The Joplin Globe.