Just around the corner: Gallion’s Corner Market getting new owners

Mary Flood, left, and Julie Gauer behind the counter at Gallion's Corner Market in Castaic. This month, Sam Elhilu is buying the store from Steve Gallion. Patrick Mullen/The Signal

Gallion’s Corner Market has anchored the northeast corner of the intersection of Castaic and Ridge Route roads for nearly four decades. Starting next month, Gallion’s will be under new ownership, though the name will remain.

Steve Gallion is selling the business, effective May 1, to Sam Elhilu, owner of several service stations and mini-marts in the Santa Clarita and San Fernando valleys.

“It’s been a pretty successful little business,” Gallion said, “but I turned 66 last month. It’s time.”

Elhilu plans to resume selling gas at the store, several years after Gallion decided to focus solely on the market. Installation and regulatory approval of new gas-storage tanks will take several months and should be complete by this fall, Elhilu said.

“It will be their first time running their own store, and they’re excited,” Elhilu said of his daughters Rita and Rawan, who will be in charge of day-to-day operations. He plans to make incremental improvements to the store.

Dean Gallion bought the property in 1969 and moved the store to its current location in 1978. It had been a three-bay Gulf gas station until Gulf pulled out of the California retail market. The store has a full liquor license, is renowned for its Italian combo sandwich, and carries bait and fishing supplies for boaters heading to Castaic Lake, less than three miles up Ridge Road.

The Gallion family’s history is intertwined with that of Santa Clarita. Dean was in the first graduating class at Hart High School in 1950, and Gwen, his mother, graduated a year later. Later in 1951, they got married. Steve was born in the old Newhall Community Hospital at the corner of  6th and Spruce (now Main Street).

“I went to Cal Poly for a time, but came back to play baseball at College of the Canyons for two years,” graduating in 1971, not long after the new college had moved from its initial temporary quarters at Hart High.

Twice, Gallion’s customers have bought winning lottery tickets at the store. One customer won $117,000 in 2012, a second hit the jackpot for $291,000 in 2014.

Steve Gallion is looking forward  to spending more time with his three grown children and having the freedom to travel.

“I’m going to take my parents to visit their old stomping grounds” in Kansas and Missouri, he said. Gwen was born in Wilmore, Kan., population 53, in Comanche County, near the Oklahoma line. Dean hails from Reeds Spring in southwestern Missouri, about six and a half hours east of Wilmore.

The recent death of his Uncle Jim has heightened Gallion’s appreciation of the passage of time. He cited a line he’s pretty sure came from Dan Ackroyd, talking about Carrie Fisher: “We only have minutes left.”

He intends to make his count.

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