A family deal, Hood Fuel Center takes over on US84

Published 12:25 pm Wednesday, June 7, 2023

BROOKHAVEN — Once known as the 84 Chevron, the 76 gas station located at the intersection of US84 and Cowart Lane Southwest is in new hands and under a new name. Last Thursday was the first day of business for Hoods Fuel Center on US84 as Jerry Hood, Warren Hood and Peyton Hood purchased it. 

Bozeman Tire owner Neal Bozeman made a family deal in selling the station. Jerry Hood said the Hood Petroleum Company had wanted to come out to US84 for several years, they had land across the highway, but his wife is sisters with Vicki Bozeman Gaddy and they didn’t want to compete with family. Vicki sold the business to Neal a year ago and when he wanted to travel more and focus on his two tire shops it offered a perfect opportunity to the Hoods, Jerry said. 

Business has not slowed down with the change of hands. Last Friday afternoon a convoy of army vehicles stopped for gas and a bite to eat while customers continued to pour in. Wednesday morning, a steady stream of construction workers, truck drivers and commuters came through the line and newly rebranded gas pumps. The rebranding is due to Hood having a wholesale distributor contract with 76. 

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“We go to Collins and pick up the fuel at the terminal. If we had stayed as a Chevron we would not have been able to do that and it would cost more,” Jerry Hood said. “We will be called Hoods Fuel Center. Call us what you want to, just come visit us. We won’t make any big changes. We have the same friendly staff and cooks. We are looking at adding additional checkout counters.” 

Hood Petroleum owns a 76 station in Hazlehurst and the Hood family owns Tobacco Mart in Brookhaven. They have additional plans to build stores at two sites. One will be at the South Crystal Springs Exit off of I-55 where they own a lot and the other will be at the North Brookhaven Exit where the old Rebel Testers building was. 

Jerry said they hope to get started on building there in six months to a year. Currently, site work and removal of some trees have to be completed. Hood’s Fuel Center on 84 is also keeping them busy as they make the transition. 

Peyton and Warren have been active in working at the station since it opened. Warren is a Wesson alumnus who played golf at Arkansas State University. He had a job in Jackson as a Certified Public Accountant for about six years before coming home to work with the family business. 

Peyton is a Brookhaven Academy Alumn and graduated from Mississippi State University. He earned the honor of All-Area Basketball Player of the Year in 2015. Peyton is usually working behind the cash register at the station to help with rushes of customers. Warren said the takeover has kept them busy. 

“We have been busy trying to get the hang of everything with a new store. We know people like to see the owners working at the store. It takes that to build a successful business,” Warren said. “Abbey Bozeman is our store manager still and Miriam Salan is our kitchen manager and she does everything. She trains our new cooks, makes our cakes, orders the food and stocks our drink coolers.”

A family tradition

Jerry’s father Carrol Hood started in the gas station business when he opened Hood’s Truck Stop in 1955 on US51 North in Hazlehurst. For 60 years, the Hood Family was with Phillips 66. ConocoPhillips owns the brand 76 now. 

Jerry said he and his brother Perry came into the business in 1980 and his father turned it over to them in the 1990s. Around 2018, Perry had a restaurant called Starks Family restaurant and they opted to split. Perry took charge of the restaurant and Jerry took charge of the petroleum business. 

“I grew up there pumping gas every summer. We had a station downtown we supplied. We worked there at the end of the summer learning everything about it,” Jerry said. “It was a good learning experience and gave us a good work ethic. We are still driven to work. We are excited about being here and look forward to serving the community and people. We appreciate them for giving us a chance to earn their business.” 

In his spare time, Jerry can be found in a tractor cab bush hogging a field and tending to cattle. He said being on a tractor is relaxing. Warren can be found out on the golf course.