Santa Rosa Band of Cahuilla Indians opens Pit Stop

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The Santa Rosa Pit Stop convenience store and gas station in Mountain Center is now open. Anza Valley Outlook/Diane Sieker photo

“Páxam, páxam! We are officially open for business!” Social media and news outlets near and far have trumpeted the news.

The Santa Rosa Band of Cahuilla Indians’ Pit Stop convenience store and gas station opened recently in Mountain Center on Highway 74. It employs about 10 people and serves as a rest area on the Pines to Palms route from the mountains to the deserts.

The Pit Stop’s name is a play on a Cahuilla word – Pít – pronounced somewhat like the name Pete, is the Cahuilla word for road. Hence, the name actually means “road stop.”

The project has taken about a decade from conception to grand opening. The opening ceremonies were presented virtually for everyone to enjoy.

Spacious fuel pump areas allow plenty of room at the new Santa Rosa Pit Stop convenience store and gas station. Anza Valley Outlook/Diane Sieker photo
Fresh Chester’s fried chicken is available at the new Santa Rosa Pit Stop convenience store and gas station. Anza Valley Outlook/Diane Sieker photo
Shelves are full of snacks at the new Santa Rosa Pit Stop convenience store and gas station. Anza Valley Outlook/Diane Sieker photo

“The Santa Rosa Band of Cahuilla Indians is very proud and thankful for all the amazing team members and their hard work that made this day possible,” according to a post on the tribe’s Facebook page.

The fueling area offers diesel as well as gasoline on every pump. There is a big rig/trailer diesel pump section, with room for large vehicles to maneuver in and out of the parking lot.

Inside the store is a selection of snacks, beverages and refreshments. Chester’s Chicken features hot and fresh fried chicken with all the fixings.

The Santa Rosa tribe has about 130 members. The store will help supplement the tribe’s income, alongside leasing parcels on Toro Peak to communications companies for cell towers and related uses. As a tribe that does not have gaming revenue, the store will provide a source of additional income for them.

The inside of the store welcomes patrons at the new Santa Rosa Pit Stop convenience store and gas station. Anza Valley Outlook/Diane Sieker photo
Designated diesel pumps for trailers and big rigs are mounted by large, shady trees at the new Santa Rosa Pit Stop convenience store and gas station. Anza Valley Outlook/Diane Sieker photo

With funding from local gaming tribes through the Indian Gaming Revenue Sharing Trust Fund and other sources, the Santa Rosa Band was able to make its convenience store a reality.

For more information on the Santa Rosa Pit Stop, visit www.facebook.com/santarosacahuilla

Diane Sieker can be reached by email at dsieker@reedermedia.com.