Business feature: Gas station offers full service experience

PNT staff

It might be cold outside, but Doyle Onstott braves the elements in order to serve his customers.

Onstott has been running South Sea Full Service Station for 24 years. C&S Inc. owns the station and provides supplies to Onstott, who manages the business.

Onstott got into the business by accident.

His uncle and aunt had the station for six months before coming to him with a request. They owned the Wagon Wheel Cafe, which has since gone out of business, as well as South Sea.

“My uncle got sick and couldn’t operate both places,” Onstott said. “They asked me if I wanted to run the gas station, and I said, “Sure, I’ll give it a try.’”

Onstott enjoys working for himself, and it keeps him busy. Some of his customers have been with him for a very long time.

“People are amazed when they come through that someone still pumps gas for them,” Onstott said. “Back in the old days, there used to be a five or six guys that would surround a vehicle ready to check everything.”

Times have changed since then, but he checks the tires, fixes flats, washes the windows for customers. Onstott checks the oil only when someone asks him, however.

He keeps a stock of oil, brake fluid and transmission fluid.

Onstott said he got to take his first real vacation in 24 years last year. He let his customers know three months in advance that he was going to be closed for a week.

“They all came in here a week before I left to top off everything they could top off,” Onstott said. “So they could come back when I open back up. They are pretty devoted.”

Onstott said the older generation is more appreciative of what he does because they might not have anyone who can take care of things such as checking the oil or pumping gas.

“What’s impoartant about my job is being able to help people and also serve people who appreciate what I do,” Onstott said.