The Personal Touch

A Michigan gas station continues to offer full-service in a world of self-serve.
February 15, 2017

WYOMING, Mich. – The number of gasoline stations outside of New Jersey and Oregon offering full-service has been dwindling for years, but Don’s Service in Wyoming, Mich., clings to the old ways.

“I started here in 1967,” co-owner Hank Bloem told WXMI-TV. “I was a paperboy here and I was hired to pump gas and mow lawns. I’ve been here 50 years and now I’m part owner of this garage.”

Co-owner Don Tigchelaar’s father started the station in 1950, when every gas station offered full-service. “Then along came the ’70s and that’s when full serve kind of went by the wayside,” Tigchelaar said. “A lot of the stations ended up going to self-serve, but we decided to keep the full-service.”

That service includes filling the gas tank and washing the windshields. “Someone comes out and asks whether you’d like it filled up with gas, how much you would like and then we’ll do that,” said Tigchelaar. “We’ll wash the windshields, front and back windows, ask about the oil, whether you want the oil checked or not. We’ll take a look at the tires, make sure that the tires are inflated right. We just try to do the whole package for people.”

The owners say that their old-fashioned gas station fills a need in the community, one that they intend to keep going. “It’s a service we can still give to people who need it, whether it be [the] handicap or elderly, or [people] who just don’t want to get out of the car, or business[people] who don’t want gasoline spilled on themselves and [to] smell like gas, so we fill a niche for that,” Bloem said.