‘Our customers mean everything’ : Well-known gas station in Letcher County closes after ten years

Published: Apr. 2, 2021 at 12:53 PM EDT
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LETCHER COUNTY, Ky. (WYMT) - For 10 years, Johnny and Melissa Collins have owned and operated the Collins Marathon gas station in Letcher County.

“We married this store. When we came in, we decided that we were going to make this happen and that is exactly what we done. We do not work 9-5. We do not work 10-6. We work 24/7,” said Melissa.

The gas station was a unique spot for those who stopped by, as it was the only one in the county that pumped gas for customers.

“They do the fuel. They do the oil. They offer to check your windows and do all that if you need it. That’s a good thing for the folks that are worried about the pandemic and of course the older folks that don’t get out of the cars,” said Customer Jerome Baker.

However, due to years of hard work and an interest in new opportunities, the Collins decided to close the business. Their last day being Friday.

“We have decided that it is time to start a new chapter of our life. We’ve had ten wonderful years here...but we’ve done this by ourself. We are tired. We are exhausted and it is time to reach the rightful retirement,” said Melissa.

While the pandemic continues to impact businesses, Melissa says it actually helped their business as they are a full-service station.

“People were afraid to touch the gas nozzles. They were afraid to get out of their vehicles. They didn’t want any contact and all of our boys wore masks here and so the communication with them. They didn’t have to do anything. All they had to do was pull up,” she said.

While the business may be closing, the impact it leaves will be felt for years to come.

“There’s compassion. There’s a lot ...of it’s a dynamic environment,” said Baker. “You know, you can have folks that’ll sit in the parking lot that will talk with you about current events, or if need be one of these young guys will come out and change a tire, if need be. You don’t get that at your big chains.”

Melissa says she appreciates the community supporting the business throughout the years and all of the life-long friendships made.

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