December 14, 1998
Gas & Go attendant Flo Wandler has been greeting customers every weekday morning for 11 years.
Staff photo by Lisa Allen.
by Lisa Allen, Valley View Editor
DUVALL--Even as high-tech gas pumps and mini-marts have sprouted up like weeds, puzzling customers with choices of cash discounts, credit cards, pay first, pay after, and how to work those really annoying accordion "fume collecting" nozzles, people here could still count on being able to pump gas the old-fashioned way.
But even that is coming to an end.
The aging Gas & Go in the "Old Town" section will be closing this weekend. Weathered and worn, the only fixing up it has seen in the last few years has been the addition of some new lights, a little paint, and a name change.
For years, the small operation was known as Duvall Texaco, but when the station's fuel distributor, Ray F. Snyder of Kirkland, moved Texaco gas into the Chevron mini-mart on the opposite end of town, a name change was required.
The task was left to one of the station's longtime employees. Flo Wandler, who has greeted morning customers from the single-person kiosk for 11 years, aptly named it Gas & Go, since the one thing customers could always count on was being able to get gas quickly and leave, with seldom a line to wait in.
And that is the one thing that may not change, even as the operation upgrades from the most basic of gas purveyors to a state-of-the-art Shell station. Part of the quickness of the gas buying process there now is the fact the small station sells only gas, diesel, oil, and kerosene--not doughnuts, sandwiches, fried chicken, potato chips, or cigarettes.
Station owner Bill Minaglia says not much will be different in that regard. Besides gas, diesel, and oil, the new station will probably offer only coffee, and eventually candy and cigarettes. The pop machine, now outside, will be moved inside. The new pumps will also take credit cards. And the new station will actually be selling one less item--kerosene.
The station will close down around Dec. 21. Minaglia, who also owns Duvall Auto Parts, says he hopes to reopen in three to four weeks. "The contractors are picked and ready to go," he said. "Right now, we are only waiting on permits."
Minaglia said new islands will be installed and blenders added to the pumps that mix the high and low octane to produce the mid-grade gasoline.
Minaglia said the new pumps will be "really cool," with video screens that will deliver CNN, music videos, or advertising. "It will be a nice change," he said. "And it will be really easy to get in and out of."
The other big change will be the replacement of the kiosk. After remodeling, the attendant will be in a booth along the front of the south side of the auto repair shop.
"It will be run basically the same as now, except credit card users will be able to get gas 24 hours a day," he said. "There will be a 10-foot long window along the front. With new pavement and planters it will be so much nicer than what is there now."
Most of the employees intend to continue working there, he noted. Manager Margie Terry, who has worked there 20 years, and Patty Shively, a 14-year employee, say they will probably stay on.
But Wandler, who has not only sold gas but crocheted countless blankets and given away thousands of pieces of candy during her shifts, said she hasn't decided whether or not she will return after the remodeling.
"If the station is closed too long, I may not feel like coming back to work," she said.