I am a young owner (25 years old) of a fairly high volume gas station/repair shop in Essex County NJ. I have experienced some crazy things during my 4 years of ownership such as; a credit card skimming incident (secret service was involved and there was a little sting operation set up by local police at my station), I was one of the very very few gas stations with power and gasoline during Hurricane Sandy (we had lines that were 6-7 hours long!), victim of an armed robbery (not me but my gas attendant), recently reopened after a huge 2.5 month gas tank/gas pumps removal and installation (we had purchased the property from Exxon a year ago), and we are a high volume repair shop (so ask me any questions about auto repair).

My Proof: http://i.imgur.com/VjMW33L.jpg me (on the right) and John Amos during Hurricane Sandy

http://i.imgur.com/GwAyi4P.jpg picture of me and my mom, the lady who made it all possible! this was the first time the new gas pumps and tanks were used

http://i.imgur.com/17i3S7O.jpg the gas can line (when the station next door had gas, we alternated between who did cars and who did gas cans in an effort to maintain organization)

http://i.imgur.com/IMQ0IHe.jpg the car line on one of the days

and here are a couple pictures of gas tanks/pump replacements http://i.imgur.com/70CoWEL.jpg http://i.imgur.com/Pc9rkNH.jpg http://i.imgur.com/CKQgZWC.jpg

So AmA about my experiences and anything about general ownership of a gas station and auto repair shop!

Comments: 301 • Responses: 58  • Date: 

EyeHamKnotYew89 karma

Tell us the story about the skimmer/secret service. Spare no details please.

wenger828183 karma

Ok, here's the story, sorta long too. It started I believe 3 years ago when a security rep (i think that was his position) from AMEX showed up and wanted to investigate a bunch of AMEX cards that were stolen and used to purchase various things (electronics mainly, tv's etc) that were all traced back to being used here. He gave me all the papers with some of the credit card info, enough for me to look at my system and see if they were used here. Sure enough, they were all used on one day in particular (i dont remember dates sorry), but unfortunately he had showed up 2 months after they were used, i was able to pinpoint all the credit cards being used on one pump, which led to me knowing that a credit card skimmer was at one point installed in my pump (bear in mind, this was 2 months after the fact).

We had gotten warning from my territory manager that credit card skimming incidences were on the rise, particuarly stations with a certain model pump, they had sent pictures of us of the devices which really looked like a simple USB drive hooked up in series with the credit card reader machine, the perps had access because all the keys for the pumps were the same (i guess attendants working at other stations were hired to steal the keys, since then, all the locks were required to be changed). Anyways, we are not a 24 hrs station so i suspected that the skimmer was left in for a day and then taken out at night, unfortunately my cameras hadn't saved the recordings from that far back, I had reported it but there was nothing we could really do.

Now this is where it sorta starts to get crazy.. fast forward a month or two after the visit from the AMEX account security guy, a good friend of mine was working for me at the time and he was pumping gas for me. The pumps happened to have been acting funny that day and he jokingly said "maybe there's a skimmer in the pumps?" (I had told him about the credit card skimmers and how a few stations around the area have had them a couple days prior), so i said "hey, what the hell, let me just check." Lo and behold, the first pump I checked (which was the one i pinpointed all the other credit cards being used on about 4-5 months prior to this), I find a foreign object wrapped in black electric tape, wires coming out of both ends, hooked up in series to my credit card reader, it had a little LED light on it and what looked like (from what i remember) a mini USB pigtail coming out of it. I started fondling it a bit before i realized, holy crap, its a skimmer (i shouldn't have touched it).

Right away, i call the police, a cop is sent up and he is clueless as to what it is or the fact that these things even existed. Detectives came up and i mentioned how this has been a problem on the rise, and because most stations that were getting hit around here (were not open 24 hrs) they would never catch them because they'd only leave them in for the day and the chances of us opening up the pumps (to change paper or for whatever reason) was very low for those random days they were placed.

I checked my camera recordings for the night before that business day and I can make out two silohuettes of people going to that pump (unfortunately my cameras then weren't that great at night and weren't aimed at that particular direction, since then i've upgraded to a much better system). I told the detective that I had seen on the cameras 2 guys come at night and that I can guarantee you that someone at night will probably come back in an attempt to retrieve it. So they set up 3 unmarked cars, 2 in my lot (parked in the mix of my customers cars) and one in the station adjacent to my lot. The detectives had removed the skimmer at the time for evidence. I had also set up my cameras to aim at the pumps so I can see what happened.

While watching the video, up to around 1AM, i saw one cop car leave, so we were left with two staking the place out. At around 2:35am, two guys walk up to the pump (could barely make them out) and you see them go up to the pump that the skimmer was installed in, and you can see them opening up the pump, at that point I see on the cameras them running and what looked like flash lights light up the ground, you see two cops chasing after them.

The next day, cops came back and told me unfortunately they didn't catch them (i dont know how!) but managed to get a hat that fell off of one of the perps head, and they had left the key they used in the pump. They had since sent the hat off to wherever to get it DNA tested (secret service?) and the key for fingerprints. The next day, the main judge of our town (who is a very good customer of mine) came up and told me how he was up all night signing documents for the secret service, and how they were taking care of the matter. Since then, i haven't had any updates as to who it was, if they found the guys or what, but I know, it won't happen again since we've upgraded everything and changed out all the locks.

Apparently this was a big deal, since these guys were so elusive in terms of how random and how infrequently they would hit stations, being that we never are inside those pumps unless to change paper. This was the first time they had some sort of lead to this problem and actually have the skimmer itself, which i'm sure they can use to trace its origins.

PS: sorry for grammatical errors or whatever, i'm actually working right now and sorta quickly typed this whole thing up

TL;DR: Suspected C.C's were getting stolen via a skimmer in pumps, couple months later pumps start acting up, coworker jokes about skimmer being installed, check a random pump and the first one I open up, I see a skimmer, police set up over night and hid in my lot to wait for perps. did not catch them

Blutroyale-_-26 karma

that's pretty cool story, too bad they where never caught though

Ihmhi14 karma

Incredibly incompetent on their part. Plenty of time to prepare and they fuck it up. =\

wenger82812 karma

eh, sorta agree, but they were there for hours, and probably dropped there guard a bit. and to give them some sorta credit, my area at night is literally pitch black at night, 2 fast young guys could get away pretty quick. anyways, they have some good evidence now having the skimmer in there possession now

tacoenthusiast2 karma

I work for a company that owns a small chain of gas stations. We also have a few "partner" sites that fly our flag and accept our internal credit card but are owned by someone else.

One of these partner sites got hit by a skimmer that got into the pump control PC. A county sheriff took the hard drive, luckily it was after we got it swapped out for a clean one. But it ended up going to the secret service. Never did hear anything back.

Someone else we talked to who does retail POS businesses told us he hasn't ever heard anything back either on cases involving his other customers. Apparently that's the norm.

wenger8283 karma

Yeah, I haven't heard anything about it andt checked up much on it since then. Next time I see those detectives that were handling the case I'll ask them about it.

cobalthawk42 karma

A 25-year old owner? How did that happen? How did you get into the business? How did you get the money to get into the business?

wenger82859 karma

Well, sorta got lucky. My family had been coming to this station for over 25 years and have known the previous owner for a very long time. I had worked here part time in high school and part time while in college (only one year of college). He had always told my parents to buy the station. My auto experience comes from just being very mechanically inclined (i guess i'm pretty gifted when it comes to figuring problems out), some technical schooling (but really didn't learn much from that), my part time experience here and mostly, my experience working at a shop that specialized in Japanese cars in Parsipanny.

I got laid off that shop around 08' and called the owner (of the station I'm at now) for a job again, and he had sent me to his new station he had purchased in Stirling NJ. Thats where I got my experience running a station. When he sent me there, that station was new for him, it had a C-store and a 4 bay shop, also at the time I was there, he had hired a new attendant which I had to train (I had NO idea how to operate the old G-site system that station used).

A couple months into that, the owner was impressed with how I got the station running well and how many new repair customers I had aquired (the previous mechanic/manager who was there was a hack mechanic and had went back to visit his home country for a couple months, which is why he needed me there), and had asked if I was interested in purchasing the location I'm at now because he was confident that I'd be able to handle it. I mention it to my parents and they liked the idea.

My family is pretty comfortable financially and with some help from other family members and a partner (a very very close family friend) we were able to acquire the business. After acquiring the business, the oppurtunity opened up to purchase the land and same thing, with some help with the previous owner (who is like an uncle to me), family and having a partner, we were able to purchase the land as well.

Hoodie2Shoes20 karma

Ha, I'm at the one in Stirling all the time. Always had heard that mechanic sucked, but I've definitely noticed an increase in business there in the recent years, so congrats on getting it going! It's a small world we live in.

wenger82818 karma

haha really? That's awesome, as a matter of fact, he had sold that station (I assume the one you mention is next to the shoprite, Poplar dr I think), and the guy who bought it knows his stuff, good guy, forget his name.

tugboat8410 karma

The way wealth is really made in America. Money makes money.

wenger82874 karma

Yes I sorta agree, but don't get me wrong, I have to bust my ass to keep this business going. My parents also started from nothing being immigrants from Taiwan. My mom comes from a family of 8 siblings, all had to work to keep the family going being that my grandfather was disabled and they had all moved out of Taiwan. She tells me stories of her when she was 8 years old taking the train by herself to work in the city just to bring some money back to the family. She worked her way up to eventually owning a trucking business and has since then provided for me. Money makes money but it has to start from nothing at some point

illydelph-34 karma

TL;DR: His wealthy family bought it for him when he was 21. The great American success story.

wenger82812 karma

Yes, I wouldn't own the station if it weren't for them that's for sure. But first, I had to prove to them, my family that was investing and my partner that I could handle and run it. Since then I've brought a station that was averaging $10,000 in gross auto repair with 3 mechanics to a station that gross's over $70K in auto repair with 3 mechanics and myself. On top of that, we are also now the highest rated in my area and I really had to bust my ass for that. I thank my parents for teaching me the work ethic that had helped them to help me get to where I am now. My dad lived out of his 18 wheeler at some point after moving into the states! (both of my parents are in the trucking business)

Gravy-Leg__24 karma

How bad is the shop lifting in your station, and how do you deal with it?

wenger82833 karma

Honestly, not bad. The armed robbery occured about a year ago, and it was the first one in apparently 50 or so years (my station has been at this location since I think 1920's ish). I am in close proximity to another station (right next door) and we are open the same hours so that sorta thwarts robberies. Only issue I have is my street is not lit well at all, the only lighting on that particular section of road is from my station and next doors. I have a good relationship with my neighbors and we all watch each others backs.

As for petty things, we get (VERY rarely) occassionaly the person that says 'fill it up cash' but then end of transaction says, 'i only wanted $20'. (we take money at the end to minimize accidental drive offs with the nozzles in the cars). Otherwise, I dont have a c-store so shop lifting is pretty much non-existent

paper_lover14 karma

Why not install lighting? I asked the local G&E to install a light on the telephone pole in front of my house, it costs about $30/month.

wintercast10 karma

many stations in my area are getting new LED lighting installed. No bulbs to worry about and bright as the sun. Because it is directional, there is not as much light polution.

wenger82815 karma

I just had mine installed! They light the place up like crazy http://i.imgur.com/AQVRdm4.jpg

Grindstone50k9 karma

I just want to say, that is a very nice looking station. Clean and organized.

wenger82811 karma

Thanks, you should see our newly redone waiting room! http://i.imgur.com/s2tesaG.jpg PS sorry for the crappy panorama shot

Grindstone50k12 karma

That looks very nice! It's great to see someone take pride in their business. I wish you the very best of success!

wenger8289 karma


RazgrizSeed4 karma

I don't know if you were told this, but another great thing about switching to LED lighting is the power savings. The cost of LED bulbs are coming down steadily, and payback periods for commercial buildings are starting to come down to under 5 years!

wenger8283 karma

Oh yes, plus changing those old bulbs that were in there (they were those super bright, super big ones) were a real pain in the ass. The ballasts would sometimes go and that would be more $$$. These ones are way brighter and save much more energy. I'm going to having the area lights around the station changed over to LED as well hopefully within the month. Btw, another benefit is if the power somehow went out for a split second with the old lighting system, we would have to wait for them to warm up again before they gave all their light output, these LED's are instantly on

tenlilindians19 karma


wenger82837 karma

No threats. I believe there were a couple fights in line but I hadn't witnessed any. For the first 2 or 3 days after the storm, we were opened until we ran out of gas. After that, the town imposed a 6PM curfew and also did the odd/even plate thing.

The worse was walking down the line of cars and choosing which car to cut off the line at at closing time, I got alot of shit for that and actually was fearful of a mob riot or something haha.

For the first few days after the storm, we did run out of gas only because we were the only station with power (a customer told me we were the only station with power and gas in a 25 mile or something radius). Me and the station next door were open, but I was sort of prepared because I had asked for a full gas load delivery a day or two prior to the storm, they(the station next door to me) had ran out of gas only a couple hours into the day after the storm. When we ran out of gas for the first time (well not completely ran out, of course I saved a couple hundred gallons for family and friends), it took about a day to get a delivery. Since we were one of the very few stations with power, my supplier (who i couldn't get in touch with because their lines were down, we finally got in touch when by chance i called there fax lines) made sure they got me gas since they knew we were one of the few with power.

I was limiting customers to only $30 of gas maximum so as to get gas to as many people as possible, a lot of people were filling up even with 3/4's of a tank and a lot were showing up with shopping carts full of gas cans, barrels, whatever they could store gas in (i had a guy come by with 15 or so poland spring water cooler jugs haha)

tldr_bullet_points16 karma

The guy with the Poland Spring bottles. Isn't it illegal to fill those containers which aren't approved with gas?

wenger82824 karma

Yeah, I believe it is, but honestly, people were so desperate and in the craziness of things, we were filling up some pretty odd things even with cops around. They didn't say anything and people needed (well either really needed or were probably just panicking) gas. Plus, if we started turning those people away, it would have just started unnecessary trouble in the lines because there were plenty of other customers that had some weird items. Obviously, I did have my limits, if people were coming with milk cartons (and people were) then I'd say no hahah

ryanssiegel19 karma

I've been to this station... West orange?

wenger82818 karma


trululul10 karma

Oh wow, I've been to your station once too. I got lost on my way back home and I was really low on gas.

wenger8283 karma

Wow great to hear! Next time stop by and say hi! I'm here all the time

co_fragment5 karma

Is there any reason why the owner of the other Exxon (the Pleasant Valley Way one) in West Orange charges about a dollar more per gallon than everyone else? It amazes me that he gets customers.

wenger82810 karma

Funny you mention, I rented out a repair bay from him for the 2.5 months I was closed. I've known the owner for a long time now and its funny, he has in NO way greedy at all, very nice, funny old man. His reasoning is that he does not want to work hard, he pumps so little gas, but makes enough per gallon to get by. At the same time, his attendant is not overworked, and his equipment lasts FOREVER because it doesn't see nearly as much use as ours does. His auto repair is very slow, and really, he does it just to give him something to do. While I was there though, I mainly observed a lot of out-of-staters who happened to have been passing by on I280 and younger kids who lived locally and go there just for the location.

Toyou4yu18 karma

How does the pricing of gas work? Also how does one go into the gas business?

wenger82828 karma

We need to make a profit off of what we buy the gas for! It really depends on the area. Gasoline is sold to us and we try to keep a margin that'll keep us and our customers happy. The big guys are the ones who set the prices, we are just the little guys trying to make a living!

Tsara12349 karma

Can you expand on this? What is "standard"? Say the gas comes to you for $3/gallon, what would your store sell it for?

In other words, what IS the margin your store tries to keep?

wenger8286 karma

Usually 6-10 cents for cash and 12-14 for credit. Of course with credit we have to pay for processing fees so its less, hence the cash/credit pricing.

jackANDpepto14 karma

While I'm not a very conservative person, I'm very pro second amendment. With you experience and the very restrictive laws in New Jersey, would you feel safer packing some form of firearm?

wenger82827 karma

I actually recently acquired my firearm ID and just purchased an AR15 (not for defense or anything haha, just to have one) a Glock G19 gen4 for range use and a Beretta PX4 storm .40 I leave at the station. I've purchased CCW holsters for both with the intent of carrying if I ever have to pump gas at night (somtimes attendants call out and none can cover) but haven't done so yet only because I'm not sure what the exact laws are.

So in short, yes, I would feel MUCH safer carrying, at points, I could have at least $1000 on cash on me if its very busy.

LoTGoD13 karma

What in the hell is the deal with pumping your own damn gas in your state?

wenger82817 karma

I really don't know it's origins honestly. I attribute it to be the age of all of our lawmakers, being all old people and not wanting to pump there own gas

amazinglights13 karma


wenger82815 karma

1: Hurricane Sandy, hard to top that haha

2: Credit card skimming sting operation (it sounds cooler calling it a sting)

3: The pump and gas tank renovation process

Blutroyale-_-13 karma

What is the perfect microwave setting for cooking my burrito?

wenger82812 karma

I don't know, I'm horrible at cooking anything

C_Mickey_D12 karma

what is the most expensive car that you have worked on in the shop or had fill up at the pump?

wenger82816 karma

Most expensive car I worked on would either be a 10' Porsche Panamera GTS (the highest model), I've had a bunch of other cars come by for work like M6's and another customers Ferrari F12 (things like state inspections). I have a customer that comes by with his Fisker Karma for things too. I've worked on a few Maserati's as well (don't like to haha). As far as at the pumps, I don't really keep tabs, but I've seen a bunch of Ferrari's and a few Lambo's (no crazy 'hyper'car yet or anything)

Spiral_flash_attack6 karma

The Panamera Turbo is a higher trim level than the GTS.

wenger8282 karma

Thats what it was

ctyankee8511 karma

Yeah.. Can I get a box of Marlboros?

wenger82811 karma

Smoking is bad for you, but sure!

cortes1211 karma

How do you deal with people that don't know you can't pump your own gas in NJ? Did they ever tip you?

InsertCoinsToBegin7 karma

You can't pump your own gas in NJ?

Seyloren10 karma

No. State law.

Furah9 karma

You have no idea how foreign that is to me. I don't think anywhere in Aus has staff that pump fuel for you.

wenger8289 karma

Wow interesting! I'm so use to the fact that someone else pumps the gas growing up here.

dmilby3 karma

Are you supposed to tip gas attendants in OR and NJ?

wenger8285 karma

No not necessary.

wenger8282 karma

We normally just let them know we'll do it for them haha, some customers though insist they do it themselves so we let them

AGoodMan3248 karma

Do you or the attendants get tipped after pumping gas? What's your opinion on that?

wenger8289 karma

They get tipped. It's not required, but it really is a nice gesture. One of my old attendants was such a great people person that people were coming back and giving him mittens in the winter and coffee and donuts all the time! I tip all the attendants of stations I go to when I'm out of town, but you don't have to and they don't get mad when you don't

eazyd4 karma

How much is OK?

wenger8283 karma

Whatever your heart desires haha, it's not necessary to so if it were me, I'd be happy if it was a 50 cent tip

Rockdio7 karma

Hello there! Thanks for doing this AMA. I was in New Jersey at the time of Sandy, working in Disaster Relief operations with FEMA at the time.

In your experience during the craziness that Sandy produced, how did you guys cope with the long lines and sometimes angry people? Did the odd/even license plate plan work for you at all? And lastly what is it like being young (to some people anyway, we're roughly the same age), and already owning your own business?

wenger8289 karma

Thanks for your services! After Sandy, I've really come to appreciate what all the emergency and utility services do to keep things going.

The odd/even license plate did work some bit, I'll be honest though, we weren't really enforcing it (we were so busy just pumping gas), we had a bunch of cops that were there with us that were, but some weren't, it really did keep a lot of people home though and lessen the load on us.

And as for the last question, to me it's really just like work haha. I haven't really experienced the college life like most kids have, living away from home etc (i still live at home embarassingly haha but am looking for my own place very soon) and sometimes I wish I didn't have such a heavy burden on my shoulders and could have experienced other things (like spring break and stuff like that haha), but I've grown use to it and love what I do (working on cars and bossing people around haha). I've always been the more 'mature' one out of all my friends and have always been good with dealing with people so taking this on wasn't really too tough for me, I guess I'm already pretty cut out for the job. In the end, I'm very happy with where I am and absolutely love what I do and have plans for expanding hopefully in the near future.

wenger8282 karma

I'd also like to add, the local police department did an amazing job helping us cope with the long lines. Honestly, if they weren't there I think things may have been worse

TiredOfYourShitJake6 karma

If you could have any single part off a car to put on your desk as art, what would it be?

wenger8287 karma

I have a collection of pistons with their respective rods sitting on my desk

frankysins5 karma

I am a 28 year old also in NJ looking to purchase a gas station/convience store or auto repair shop. What are some things i should be looking for that someone with no experience wouldnt even think of?

wenger8283 karma

First see if there are an environmental issues for sure. See how old all the equipment is and what type of system is running everything. In our case, we had purchased just the business side before the property, so everything we were getting, Exxon made sure was okay before handing it over to us

OpticalDelusions5 karma

Do your friends and family come to you asking for cheap/free gas or auto repairs?

wenger82811 karma

No, everyone pays the same for gas, including my self and my immediate family. Family and friends come to me for auto repair because they know me and yes, I do take care of them but they also understand (and don't mind) that I need to make some profit to stay alive.

Regrind4 karma

Are the new tanks made of steel or fiberglass? How many bays is your service area, and how many employees do you have?

wenger8282 karma

New tanks are made of double wall fiberglass. I wish i took pictures of the old ones because in comparison they are way more beefier, lets just say the old ones don't look like they shoulda been under ground (they were I think 33'ish years old). We are a 3 bay service area and I currently have 3 mechanics and 3 attendants (usually 4)

wenger8281 karma

Double wall fiberglass. The old tanks were single wall and when they pulled them out of the ground (wish i had pics of them) they did not look like the belonged in there in the first place!

I have 3 mechanics other than myself and 3 (usually 4) gas attendants. It is a 3 bay repair shop

detekk4 karma

As a fellow Jerseyan, just wanted to say respects to you and glad to have a good guy like you as a resident of this state that I love so much.

wenger8285 karma

Thanks! What's that saying go, we pump our fists, not our gas?

JoinTheRightClick3 karma

6-7 hour line seems really long. No way for them to take a number or something. Can't imagine the old folks sitting/standing out there for so long.

wenger8286 karma

I had a line forming at 3AM at some point for our opening at 6AM (the first customer said they waited since 3am). By the middle of the day, I had customers tell me they waited 7 hours for the gas. One thing that I really learned is that panic can make people do some irrational things (they coulda drove an hour away to PA and gotten gas out there!)

sevpay3 karma

New Jersey is one of the few states in the union where self service is not an option. How do you feel about having to pay gas attendants to do a job that is not required anywhere else?

wenger8284 karma

Well in my case, I like having a gas attendant. It's like having a sales person outside. My gas attendant will point out when a tire is low or light is out and send them over my way. When he checks oil, sometimes he'll sell an oil change out of it. Plus, it's nice to have someone outside keeping tabs on things while I'm busy working on cars in the shop.

masemagnum3 karma

I assume you sell lottery tickets. What was the biggest win you've seen? Any stories of someone buying, and subsequently losing, two rolls or something?

wenger8288 karma

No, no lottery tickets

dsutari3 karma

Why was John Amos around during Sandy? Does he live in the area?

Motherfucker's been around since GOOD TIMES!

wenger8283 karma

Hahah, was waiting for someone to ask about that. During the craziness of Sandy, a man approached me asking if I had donuts, somehow, he knew I had a box of Dunkin Donuts inside my office so of course I offered. I believe he has a sibling that is in the area. That was the highlight of my Sandy experience.. meeting Mr. McDowell! (haven't really seen Good Times, too young I think)

SupGirluHungry3 karma

What was the scariest moment you can remember? One where you weren't sure if you would make it out alive

wenger8289 karma

I'd say it was probably the time I had a pack of feral stray dogs roaming around the lot, apparently it was a pack of 4 of them (didn't see the other 3), one of them was a pitbull with a head the size of my torso and he was giving me a mean staredown when i was in the back of the shop. The next day i heard a gun shot from next door, it turned out a cop was in the area after the dog was spotted again and took him out.. poor dog

thegoldenbuddha543 karma

What's the difference between the three types of gasoline offered? From what I can usually see the gasoline is pumped from the truck to the underground tanks. Is there a process it goes through when the gas goes from the tanks to the customers cars that make up the price difference?

wenger8283 karma

Octane ratings. There are 3 flavors, in our case we have 87 (regular), 89 (plus) and 93 (supreme). The fuel goes straight from the tanks to thru the meters and into the cars, nothing special really happens EXCEPT for the plus grade in certain cases. Most stations nowadays are blending stations, which means, they will mix regular and supreme to obtain plus. This is to minimize underground storage, prior to my renovation, I had 3 separate tanks, each containing their own particular grade. Now I have two huge ones, one is all 87 octane and the other one is compartmentalized to 93 and diesel. The blending takes place inside the meters of the MPD's (multiple product dispensers, aka a fancy name for gas pump).

edit: meant plus!

Artificial_Insomnia2 karma

Hey, thanks for doing this. I have some questions.

-What kind of education did you need to start this business?

-how often does a robbery happen there?

-do you get used to working in such a place?

  • Any more crazy stories of your work?

  • what's your favorite hobby?

wenger8286 karma

-Highschool, barely a year of college, 6 months of technical school, actual work experience and just being a quick and ambitious learner.

-there was only one armed robbery that had happened here and it was the first in 30-35 years or so

-not sure what you mean by this last question, but i'm pretty use to the stresses that come along with it. There are days where I really want to pull my hair out because maybe there's a customers car that is really giving us a hard time or something wrong with the gas pumps, but one thing I learned is just don't let it ruin your day, eventually things will get fixed.

I do have one other story that involved a car being on fire at the station next door to me. On a late Saturday night, around 10PM I had stopped back at the station to drop a couple things off when my gas attendant pointed out to me a car that was at the pumps next door was smoking, I sort of shrugged it off thinking it was just overheating. I come back out and my attendant tells me that it's on fire, and I look over and I see the gas attendant at the station next door pushing the car away from the pumps by himself and using the water bucket to clean windshields to try and put the flames out with. I run back inside and grab my extinguisher, run next door and help him put the flames out. I made sure NOT to open the hood because I knew that would introduce oxygen to the flames, but the fire was crazy enough to be coming out from the back of the hood by the windshield wipers and melt the blades. After I knew the flames were out, I opened the hood and seconds after opening the hood the rubber fuel line had finally burst from all the pressure.. luckily that didn't happen while the flames were there! Needless to say, her car was toast (hahaha so punny). Here's a pic http://imgur.com/glofhLS

Favorite hobbies? Cars and motorcycles! I have a 11' Ford Shelby GT500 mustang, a 13' harley night rod special and a 13' kawasaki ninja zx6r that I do alot of work on, also working on a 78' honda cb750 cafe racer. Other than that, I also dabble in music production (electronic music) and play alot of instruments. I like to shoot as well!

Assidental12 karma

I always wondered how much revenue comes from gas vs. the snacks and items in the convenience store. Care the share?

wenger8288 karma

I don't have a C-store, but talking with owners that do, almost most of the revenue comes from c-store items. For us, its auto repair.

RandomCDN3 karma

So why dont you add a c-store? not enough space?

wenger8285 karma

I would love to but town ordnance does not allow gas stations and c-stores

DSC77772 karma

Do you have any "regulars".

wenger8285 karma

Yes of course, a lot of people. I think more than 60% of my business is repeat customers that live nearby

rglax2 karma

Your station is right by Essex Green on Prospect Ave isnt it? I used to go to the Exxon all the time

wenger8282 karma

Yes it is!

ChickenGums1 karma

What kind of profit margins do you see from running a gas station? Excluding the repair shop part... I've always wondered how much gas stations pull in. Thanks for the AMA, it's an interesting one!

wenger8282 karma

Not much honestly, it'll cover some of the overhead and pay for the gas attendants, everything is in auto repair

QuantumStorm1 karma

Passport, Ruby, or Nucleus?

wenger8281 karma

Passport. Heard ruby is good though. In my case since I'm not a c-store, i really don't use the POS much

G1adi4tor1 karma

Do you think it would distinguish a business in a place like, say, the Chicago suburbs, where all gas stations are self-serve, to offer gas pumping? Like, would it be a good idea to implement that into a business so that said gas station can stand out among the rest of them?

I mean I see people get out of the car to start the pump then rush back in and crank up the heat in the winter time. It seems like it'd be a solid business decision to offer gas pumping for customers as an option. Any opinions on this?

wenger8282 karma

Yes definitely! Anything to stand out. I'd say that's a pretty nice amenity in an area that doesn't offer it. Like I mentioned in another post, I don't mind having a gas attendant in my particular situation being a service station, he will every now and then sell an oil change, light bulb or windshield wipers for me. They can do the same even without a repair shop and having just a C-store if you sell wipers & light bulbs etc.