One former Swifty gas station in the city has reopened as a new Marathon station, and another will follow next week.
The renovated station at 1521 State St. opened Feb. 20, and the updated store at 2190 National Road is expected to open next week. Both will offer cash discounts and soon will provide employees to pump your gas, signature features of Swifty gas stations.
Both locations were sold to Bluffton-based National Oil and Gas Inc. last May, after the July 2013 death of Swifty Oil founder Don Myers at age 92.
A third location at 3350 W. Jonathan Moore Pike, sold to Harry and Gary Singh, is undergoing renovations to become a Circle K gas station.
Myers founded Swifty Oil in 1963 in Seymour. He started with seven gasoline stations and eventually expanded the company to more than 180 stations in five states. Fifty years later as part of the process of settling Myers’ estate, the company began liquidating its holdings, and that meant closing gas stations and convenience stores.
The news shocked Columbus area residents.
“I am beyond disappointed,” longtime customer Jeannie Gordon of Columbus said last May. “It’s tragic.”
The stations’ throwback style of operating was a nod to an earlier era, before self-service gas stations began to take hold in the 1970s.
It was a practical alternative for customers with mobility issues.
Customer Mark Thomson, who uses a wheelchair van, in May said he paid extra to have the gasoline pumped for his van for 28 years.
Different potential buyers of Swifty stations began looking at ways to step in and run gas stations at the same locations and maintain some of the popular Swifty features.
“It’s a great city,” Trout Moser, National Oil and Gas vice president, said of his company’s entrance into the Columbus market. “A lot of potential there and good traffic counts.”
Gary and Harry Singh will lease both Marathon stations from National Oil and Gas, as well as operate their own Circle K on the west side.
“I see that people had been missing this place,” Gary Singh said of the first former Swifty station to open on State Street. “The response has been very good.”
The feature of offering to pump gas for the customers has not been implemented yet, but Gary Singh expects to get the ball rolling on that in coming weeks.
Extra employees will be hired for that purpose and be available outside from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily.
Kenneth Scroghan of Columbus said he returned to the State Street location because of the gas prices. He said the fact that Marathon will offer the pumping service again is a plus, “especially on a cold day.”