ARCHDALE, NC – It’s quickly becoming a familiar sight; bags covering gas pumps, signifying there’s no fuel to be found.
But, at the Archdale Marathon Full Service Center, those particular bags are just for show.
During a gas shortage, due to the Colonial Pipeline leak, owner Gary Cook and his son Travis decided to put loyal customers before strangers driving in off the highway.
“We kind of thought, you know we’ve had regular customers that come by every week to get gas from us, so we thought why not take care of them first,” said Travis.
For 62 years, the Cook family pumped gas for customers, cleaned their windshields and filled up folks’ tires. On the outside, the small station, with just four working pumps, gets a fresh coat of paint. The inside is jammed full of nostalgia. Of course, a small town, family owned gas station wouldn’t be complete without seats for people to sit and pass the time.
“It’s a full service station,” said Mike Liner, a former Archdale restaurant owner who has fueled up at the Cook’s station for over 25 years. “It’s someplace where you can go and you can talk and have fun.”
It’s no surprise Archdale Marathon has over 100 regular customers.
“Not to offend the highway customers or anything,” Travis explained. “We wanted to make sure loyal customers had the gas they need since they were always loyal to us. We want to make sure we are loyal to them.”
It’s working. Loyal customers continue to drive up as they would any other day and the station is still doing well on gas; despite stations nearby running low or out. Travis and his dad, shared the message by word of mouth and on their Facebook page.
No, the station isn’t turning anyone away. The Cook family simply wanted to avoid a rush on the pumps. Travis added he wouldn’t turn anyone away who was in desperate need of gas.
“We’ll take care of them. We’ll take care of everybody.”
Just in case, WFMY News 2 did some checking. The practice doesn’t appear to be illegal, although one gas expert said, “That’s certainly a new one.”
Copyright 2016 WFMY