Lakeland gas station drops price to 99 cents a gallon for three hours

Lines of cars formed at a Lakeland gas station before 11 a.m. Tuesday. Customers were waiting for the price signs to switch to an uncommon site – 99 cents a gallon. 

For three hours, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Aladdin Market provided the prime price as a "thank you" to its customers. 

"This is a give back in a time of need, especially after the pandemic, everybody needs something," longtime customer Senita Green said. 

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To offset the money lost on gas, employees encouraged customers to make a purchase inside the store. Green bought a cheeseburger combo, and others walked out with cheesesteaks, wings and drinks. 

Tuesday's promotion allows Aladdin Market co-owner Sam Rabi to share the company's unique business model with customers. The business shares 70% of its profits of sales from inside the store with the community by lowering gas prices. 

"We basically put people in control of what the gas prices will be the next day, so the more purchases on the inside, the lower the gas will be," Rabi said. 

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While that model doesn't produce 99 cents a gallon like this promotion, it usually allows Rabi and Aladdin Market to have gas prices 30-40 cents below market price. 

"When I have the community behind me, and they make inside purchases, I'm getting compensated," Rabi said. "At the end of the day, everybody's happy."

Rabi estimates that he sold around 6,000 gallons of gas, similar to what another Aladdin Market location sold after running the same promotion last summer. 

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His long-term goals are to grow his franchise and inspire other businesses to adopt similar business models. He also hopes to grow the company's Facebook page, which has more than 6,000 followers. 

"I put a smile on a lot of people's faces, and this is actually helping me sleep tight at night," Rabi said.