Think back to your home town neighborhood. What’s the one place that was the staple in the neighborhood — the corner store, candy shop, ice cream shop, hardware store — and without it, the neighborhood just wouldn’t be the same? For Derek Medved of Gary-New Duluth, that place was the Gary Milk House convenience store and gas station.
Derek started working there as a young teenager, and dreamed of owning it someday. His dream was in jeopardy when the Milk House closed in 2014, but Derek didn’t give up. At just 19 years old, Derek rallied support in the community, ended up buying the place, and after only nine months, he reopened the Gary Milk House. A young man’s dream came true and his neighborhood has enjoyed their old staple ever since.
But the financial challenge of buying and reopening was only part of Derek’s journey. Much of the reason the Gary Milk House closed in 2014 was due to compliance and enforcement problems with its gas pumps and storage tanks. The former owners could not afford the cost of fixing the problems identified by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. This didn’t stop Derek. He got to work researching and working directly with MPCA Tanks staff to find out what it would take to clean up, update, and bring the gas station back into compliance with tanks regulations.
Derek secured the knowledge, funding, and support to fix and upgrade the tanks and equipment to reopen the Gary Milk House. That success led to Derek doing the same thing with three other gas stations in Duluth and the Iron Range that, without his efforts, would have also closed for similar reasons.
The upgrades Derek has done at all his gas stations not only meet regulations, but in some aspects, he has gone beyond what is required to help ensure compliance into the future. One example is his installation of new, state-of-the-art, automatic tank gauges which monitor, and greatly reduce the chance of leaks occurring from tanks. He also made repairs to the dispensers and pump islands at all his stores that will minimize the risk of small spills that can accumulate over time.
For going above and beyond storage tank permit requirements, the MPCA thanks Derek Medved for proactively achieving compliance and helping revitalize the Gary-New Duluth neighborhood for his, and future generations.