Janesville75.1°

Janesville gas station offers full service at same price as self serve

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Catherine W. Idzerda
January 17, 2011
— A gas station is a gas station is a gas station.

At least when it comes to pumping gas. Slide the credit card in and out of the slot or pay inside.


The owners of the Citgo Station at 1918 E. Milwaukee St. in Janesville are using an old-fashioned idea to promote their newly purchased business: service.


Somebody will pump your gas, check your tire pressure and oil and wash your windows, if you choose.


Here's the kicker: The gas doesn't cost any more than at the rival stations down the block and across the street.


Mike and Kristen Singh, the store's owners, wanted to increase their traffic.


"We're listening to people in the community," Singh said. "They're the ones that determine what goes on."


Enter Damon Hinkle, 53, of Janesville. He "got after" Mike to go full service and said he'd be just the man for the job.


In his younger days, he worked at the old Hudson Station out on Milton Avenue and the Clark Station on the south side.


He will pump gas and check tires for anybody, but he envisioned it as a service for people who didn't want to get out of their cars.


"You know, elderly people or women who have kids in their car," Hinkle said.


Tips aren't required, but he's gotten some healthy ones.


"The first guy that came in gave me $50 for $30 gas and told me to keep the change," Hinkle said.


One of the sisters from St. Elizabeth's Nursing Home gave him candy canes.


On Friday, Hinkle was training a new employee: Sam Dahl, 18.


Dahl, a welding student at Blackhawk Technical College, looks like he walked straight out of a 1950s advertisement for a Standard Oil service station.


Hinkle is confident the full-service approach draws in business, especially during the winter. Besides, he said, it's one of only two stations in the city that provide the service.


Davis Citgo, 45 East Racine St., Janesville, also has full service, but the price of gas is slightly higher.



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