Full-service gas makes a comeback

June 15, 2010 (WILMETTE, Ill.)

So you're driving south on Green Bay Road in Wilmette. You need gas so you pull into a Marathon station and you are about to experience a pit stop from the past. It's a full service gas station. A team of four guys does everything for you. The things we've been doing for ourselves for over twenty years but here it's done for you.

"I grew up in the business in the seventies and that's what we did. And I thought that in the economy today it would be nice for people to have service again," said Glenn Moak, owner of Forrest's Duxler in Wilmette.

For the past six months they've been filling the windshield solvent containers for free. And when was the last time your oil level was checked?

It's enough to make you time travel back to the 50s and the old Texaco Star Theatre: "We are the men of Texaco. We work from Maine to Mexico there's nothing like this Texaco of ours," went the song. They sang and sold gas and promoted their full service, just like what's going on in Wilmette. But what's the catch? It's not the gas prices. They're lower than average. Maybe the guys take tips.

"No, we don't," said Scott Stokes, full service Marathon attendant.

They clean your glass and they pump your gas. But is it paying off? Is business up? Does full, full service fuel the bottom line?

"When we took over this station a year and a half ago the station was pumping about 25,000 gallons a month and last month we pumped 100,000," said Moak.

Gas sales quadrupled but there isn't much profit in that. However, with all the new customers the auto repair business here has gone up about $25,000 a month.

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