Special Report: Small Town Service - Tri-State News, Weather & Sports

Special Report: Small Town Service

(WFIE) (WFIE)
ILLINOIS (WFIE) -

You may think full service gas stations are a thing of the past, but Rick's Service in White County, IL, stood the test of the time, until now.  While there are plenty of other places to fill up, the locals said there's no place like the heart of their hometown. 

For customers at Rick's in Grayville, this full service gas station is more than just a place to fill up.  It's family.

"I try to make cookies every week or so and take down there for a coffee break."

Marcella Sweeney has been a loyal customer for decades.

"He gets out in the snow and he will help anybody at any place and I don't know what we're going to do. I get so upset about it because I'm going to miss him," said Sweeney.

Word traveled fast at the local senior center that owners Rick and Terri Conner would have to close down their pumps due to new gas storage tank regulations. 

"It came as a shock.  We weren't expecting it," said senior center worker Larry Butler.

For drivers like Marcella, it is life changing.

"I can't pump gas anymore.  My hands are just not working real well.  "He had a lady come in since this happened this week and she'd never pumped gas ever.  So, he went with her to another filling station and showed her how to pump the gas." 

The last full service station in town, like so many across the country, could now be a part of history.

"The first thing, I felt sorry for myself, and I said no I can't do that.  I need to think of Rick and Terri.  They're the ones that's losing the business."

Rick said a steady stream of people have stopped by to offer their support, including his very first customer.

"He offered me his checkbook.  He's done so much for the town over the years and everything."

The end of an era, or so they thought.  Just weeks after shutting down gas service, customers like Marcella are now finding out it's not gone for good.  

"Everybody's excited about and couldn't hardly wait to hear the word that it'd come back," said Sweeney.

Rick has decided to make a major investment in his business and the community, installing new gas storage tanks and bringing it all back.

"It's something he's worked on very hard to think about and decide because it's a big, big investment.  He had a lot of customers that really depended on him.  Some that he carried on credit that really needed it and he was there for them and he'll be there for them again."

Promising to fill the hearts of his hometown for many years to come. 

"We just can't hardly wait."

Rick said his loyal customers are what inspired him to make this investment.  He said the new storage tanks should be installed this summer and they hope to have the pumps back open in July.   

Copyright 2018 WFIE. All rights reserved.

  • LOCALMore>>

  • Child involved in mobile home fire earlier this month has died

    Child involved in mobile home fire earlier this month has died

    Sunday, July 22 2018 11:18 PM EDT2018-07-23 03:18:51 GMT
    Ivy, Ireland, and John-Ross Henry (From Facebook)Ivy, Ireland, and John-Ross Henry (From Facebook)
    Ivy, Ireland, and John-Ross Henry (From Facebook)Ivy, Ireland, and John-Ross Henry (From Facebook)
    We have an update on a deadly fire in Ohio County.  Another child has died as a result of the mobile home fire that happened earlier this month.  Christin Henry posted the sad news on Facebook late Sunday. Ireland was seven-years-old. Her brother, four-year-old brother John-Ross Henry, died at the hospital two weeks ago.  Two-year-old Ivy Henry was found dead inside the home the day of the fire. Copyright 2018 WFIE. All rights reserved.More >>
    We have an update on a deadly fire in Ohio County.  Another child has died as a result of the mobile home fire that happened earlier this month.  Christin Henry posted the sad news on Facebook late Sunday. Ireland was seven-years-old. Her brother, four-year-old brother John-Ross Henry, died at the hospital two weeks ago.  Two-year-old Ivy Henry was found dead inside the home the day of the fire. Copyright 2018 WFIE. All rights reserved.More >>
  • Crews finish final preparations for 2018 Vanderburgh county fair

    Crews finish final preparations for 2018 Vanderburgh county fair

    Sunday, July 22 2018 10:15 PM EDT2018-07-23 02:15:35 GMT
    WFIEWFIE
    WFIEWFIE

    For a week now, crews have been putting up rides, tents, and stages at the Vanderburgh County 4-H Center for the annual county fair. Officials say that preparations for this year's fair began immediately following the 2017 fair, but today was all about putting the finishing touches on the week-long event. 

    More >>

    For a week now, crews have been putting up rides, tents, and stages at the Vanderburgh County 4-H Center for the annual county fair. Officials say that preparations for this year's fair began immediately following the 2017 fair, but today was all about putting the finishing touches on the week-long event. 

    More >>
  • Union Co. man surprised with motorcycle from friends

    Union Co. man surprised with motorcycle from friends

    Sunday, July 22 2018 7:39 PM EDT2018-07-22 23:39:37 GMT

    Jason Stone describes the life of bikers as a brotherhood.  He says that everybody is family when you're on a bike.

    More >>

    Jason Stone describes the life of bikers as a brotherhood.  He says that everybody is family when you're on a bike.

    More >>
Powered by Frankly