WEST SENECA, N.Y. (WIVB-TV) – A long-standing West Seneca auto shop is hanging up its gas pumps, but not first without first bringing back its customers for a sale that closed downs streets Thursday.
“Oh, they were lined up probably half a mile in two different directions, and just kept…one after another until it was gone,” said Don Krempholtz, co-owner of Don and Jim’s Auto Serice Center. “It didn’t last long.”
Don and Jim’s is giving up the gas part of the business. To get rid of what gas the business had left, Krempholtz and his son Patrick Krempholtz tell News 4 they decided to sell it at just 99 cents a gallon. They posted about the price roll-back on Facebook. And a time when the average price for a gallon of gas is more than twice than in Western New York, the one-time sale did not disappoint.
“It was crazy with that social media. I mean, once the word got out, it was nuts,” Don said. “Seen a lot of old faces, and it was nice, you know?”
Don and Patrick say they’ve been meaning to stop pumping gas for years. After the pandemic shut them down for a couple of months, the father-son pair acknowledges the challenging times nudged them to finally do it.
“It was a long time coming. There hasn’t been money in gas for the private shop in decades,” Patrick explained. “And it’s not as easy as just not doing it anymore, so we had to make proper plans to be able to do it the right way to get rid of it.”
Thursday was bittersweet. After nearly 40 years, Don and Patrick both felt nostalgic.
“I miss the people. Thirty-seven years pumping gas here, you know? That’s the thing I miss is the regulars who come in. You talk to them, you stay in touch with them,” said Don.
“I met my wife at the pumps. And her family,” said Patrick.
Don and Jim’s is still open for the sales and service part of the business, and the workers hope you’ll come in and chat, and grab a cup of coffee, which is still free. There are two locations, one on Seneca Street and one on Center Road.
“I’m going to miss them at the pumps, but I want to thank them all for the years of their support,” Don said.
Erica Brecher is an anchor and reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2018. See more of her work here.