Friday (April 27) was the last day of business for the Junction Station, 602 W. Madison Ave.
John and Ellen Kjendlie, Town of Fulton residents, have owned the business for about 12 and a half years.
They decided to give the business a try after a Realtor approached them saying they’d be good at running the business, said Ellen, explaining how the couple got into the business.
Starting out was a bit of a struggle, John said.
“We started off with nothing,” he said, explaining that the previous owner had shut down the business and equipment had to be updated.
“Equipment was a big, big issue,” John said.
For three months, the couple remodeled and worked on updating the fuel dispensers and registers.
Once the new pumps arrived with the ability to pay at the pump, customers soon followed.
“People really like paying at the pump and taking off,” John said.
Though he didn’t specify the volume, he said they were commended for the number of gallons of fuel they sold per month for a gas station their size.
According to John, many said they appreciated the good-quality fuel, especially the Cenex diesel. Previously, the business had been Bob’s Citco Mini Mart and about 10 years ago, the Citgo station became a Cenex station.
On a Milton Courier Facebook post announcing the closing, people commented saying they liked the 87 without ethanol and the off-road diesel. They wondered where they would buy diesel.
Other comments include: “Best place to buy diesel fuel.” “Best gas station in down.” “Sad to see it go.” “Bummer. Enjoyed going there.” “Awesome owners, good people.”
John and Ellen said they met a lot of nice people.
In addition to the people, Ellen enjoyed being able to promote and sell her crafts. Among the items on display was an apron made out of a larger pair of men’s white underwear. When asked about it, Ellen laughed, then shared another example of their humor: a little box of “free candy,” which when opened revealed a toy mouse.
On the retail side, lottery tickets were top-sellers, cigarettes and chewing tobacco, which they purchased weekly.
And, Ellen, said customers came to the store, knowing the chew would be fresh.
While they’ve had their share of fun over the years, they said they’ve also had their share of headaches starting with the original pumps and a big learning curve.
There were a lot of fees and inspections, John said.
And, he’s bothered they trusted some people by giving them credit and were taken advantage of. He’s also bothered by people, who knowingly write bad checks.
In addition to the existing costs of doing business, more upgrades will have to be done on the pumps as a result of new regulations.
“It wouldn’t pay for us to keep running the business,” he said.
What will happen to the Junction Station Property is yet to be determined, John said.
The Kjendlies, who said they are excited about moving on, will turn their focus to their lawn care business. E-Jay’s Services offers lawn care, spring and fall cleanup, deck restoration and building clean up.