This gas station on a busy corner recently shut down. I’m not sure what motivated me to stop & take pictures but felt I should. As I was snapping away my mind swirled in many different directions. Why should I document something which is no longer there?
Having been an “Independent Freelancer” for 36 years I feel an affinity with self-reliant entrepreneurs. I try my best to support “owner-operated” business but I drove by by this business thousands of times without stopping as I witnessed the slow decay. I felt sad for the final outcome of all the hours & hard work put into it. Nothing lasts forever but decades of dedication & sweat are not seen in these photographs.
My emotions were varied as I snapped the shutter. This Texaco station has been here since just after I was born. It’s age mirrored mine. Progress & time have had an impact on this enterprise. I have also experienced the aging process of time but fortunately do not feel as worn down as this place & feel I still have something left to offer.
One of the few positive thoughts that came into my mind were that society is entering an age where gas station are becoming relics of the past as we evolve to electric powered cars. Might this someday be as obsolete as a hitching post?
I’m somber but recognized the many factors leading to its demise. The trend now is for corporate owned facilities with dozens or fueling pumps. The owners, who function as CEO’s of businesses with hundreds of stations, are almost completely removed from contact with their customers. There is indeed value in big operations. However, by forcing mom & pop places to close the benefits of large businesses is soured.
These types of businesses used to be a one-stop-shop for your automotive needs. Service on cars has evolved with specialty fast oil changes becoming the place for limited maintenance. Meanwhile “service needed” indicators in cars prompt owners to seek out dealers’ service centers. The 2 bay service garage has a very hard time competing.
They tried emulating the large facilities by selling cigarettes, lottery tickets, propane & candy. However, mega stations with numerous pumps are like mini-markets & have fast food. The Full Service this place offered was for the car not the person driving.
The local auto repair shop was part of the community. The owner of the place we had our family car serviced at went to High School with my father. When I bought my 1st car guess where I took it for service. The local mechanic also provided experienced opinions when buying a used or new vehicle. While efficiency and productivity may be worthy goals I feel they often come at the cost of personal interaction. Change is indeed inevitable & can have benefits. But we need to notice what has been lost.
These photos are not my best. The rambling of this blog is a result of not understanding a clear motivation to make this a subject. However, I do recognizing the value of documenting change in the world I live in via my photography & my thoughts.