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This historic Cumming building could become a cigar shop
1 Station WEB
The historic Sinclair gas station in downtown Cumming - photo by Autumn McBride

The Sinclair gas station building, an historic landmark in downtown Cumming, could be getting a new use soon.

The Cumming City Council voted 4-0, with council member Lewis Ledbetter absent, at Tuesday's work session to approve a lease for Cumming Cigar, LLC to operate a cigar shop out of the building on Atlanta Road near Dairy Queen.

The terms of the lease would be for one year starting on July 1 at $1,325 a month. The city could choose not to renew the lease after a year. The business would also be eligible to serve beer and wine under recent changes to the city’s alcohol ordinance.

The lease terms also include measures to honor the historic nature of the building. The City Council gets to approve the business’s signage, while Cumming Cigar, LLC must maintain the building above the city’s standard “normal wear and tear” terms by keeping it in the same condition it was when the business’s lease started.

The gas station dates back to at least the 1930s, but the building was almost demolished around 2008 for road improvements. Instead, the property that includes the gas station was purchased for $730,000, and three years and $100,000 later, the building was restored to resemble its original condition and used as a welcome center for the city.

But the building hasn’t had much practical use in recent years, save as a nostalgic photo-op.

“It’s just sitting there collecting dust,” Councilmember Christopher Light said.

Councilmember Linda Ledbetter expressed some reservations about a cigar shop taking up residence in the building.

“Why would you want any smoke in any building you own?” Ledbetter said. “And that one is historical.”

The rest of the Council eventually assuaged Ledbetter’s concerns. The Council can terminate the lease after a year, Councilmember Chad Crane noted, and Councilmember Jason Evans emphasized the business’s “lounge” environment. City Attorney Kevin Tallant also reiterated the strict terms of the lease.

“It’s not like there’s going to be smoke billowing out of there,” Evans said.

Mayor Troy Brumbalow saw it as an opportunity to resuscitate an historic but languishing resource in the city, in the same way the city did with the Cumming School Playhouse last summer.

“I’m just glad to see it being used for something,” Brumbalow said.