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iBerkshires.com Columnist Section

Sue Bush
More articles from Sue Bush

Landmark Route 2 Site To Close

By Susan Bush
12:00AM / Monday, October 31, 2005

The Getty Petroleum Corp. plans to terminate vehicle fuel sales at this landmark 391 Main St. site. The company also plans to remove underground fuel storage tanks from the property.
Williamstown – A landmark Main Street service station is poised for a Nov. 13 closing and the property’s corporate owner, Getty Petroleum Corp., is terminating all vehicle fuel sales at the leased site.

Speaking during an Oct. 31 telephone interview, First International Resources LLC Vice-president Joseph Shwirtz said that the company also plans to remove underground gasoline storage tanks and any other underground equipment from the 391 Main St. property currently operating as Tom’s Auto Repair shop. Vehicle fuel advertised under the Getty brand name is sold on the premises.

First International Resources LLC is a political and corporate services firm offering services including media relations, crisis management, international research and analysis, and political consulting to a wide range of clients. The firm has offices in locations including New York City and Washington, D.C..

The decision to discontinue vehicle fuel sales at the property was a business decision, Shwirtz said.

“From a business perspective, Getty made the decision to close the site,” he said.

Shwirtz declined further comment.

Signs are posted at the service station notifying customers of the closing.

Thomas Peckham III and his father Thomas Peckham Jr., both of North Adams, have leased the property from the Getty firm since 2001 and opened the business in June 2001.

Vincent Alcaro, owner of the Alcaro’s used vehicle sales business directly across the street from the service station, had been interested in acquiring the lease for the property from the Peckhams and operating the site as a service station, according to Thomas Peckham Jr.. Alcaro was not at the vehicle sales lot during the Oct. 31 business day, according to a company employee, and Alcaro had not returned a telephone call seeking comment by 8 p.m. Monday evening.

The corporate decision to cease fuel sales and remove the fuel storage tanks put a halt to those plans, Thomas Peckham Jr. said.


These fuel pumps are destined to sit idle by Nov.13.
The service station is situated amidst several fuel sales competitors; a Cumberland Farms convenience store/gasoline station, a Mobil convenience store/vehicle fuel sales station and an auto repair/vehicle fuel sales business operated by John Carpinello are all located within feet of the Getty-owned property. The Orchards hotel abuts the property on its westerly side.

Shwirtz said that Getty officials are interested in proposals for alternate uses of the site.

“Once the site is closed, Getty will be open to discussing alternatives for the site,” he said. “They would be interested in reviewing proposals for alternate use.”

Shwirtz said that he could not comment on whether a potential alternate use would require purchasing the property or if the site could be leased.

The site has an assessed property tax value of $319,000, according to town Assessor William Barkin. The company owes no past due taxes on the property.

The landmark business hosted a grand opening in 1954, when former town Selectmen John Denelli opened the site as a Tydol “Flying A” service station affiliated with the former Bowe Oil Co..

Denelli died several years ago.

A vintage industry magazine kept by Denelli’s daughter, town resident Cheryl Righter, features a dated photograph of the grand opening. Included in the picture are Denelli, Stuart Graham, Richard A. Ruether, and a woman identified as “stage star Marcia Henderson.” The photograph also shows the “Flying A” winged logo.

Righter said that she worked at the station, which also sold John Deere lawn tractors, during her teen-age years.
“I worked there during the summers when I was 16, 17, 18,” Righter said. “My sister [Donna Denelli-Hess] worked there, too.”

Denelli retired from the business during the mid-1980s, and town residents Steven and Kim Burnham operated the station for about a year before town resident Ron DeMyer assumed station operations and remained there for about 13 years. DeMyer currently owns and operates Ron’s Auto Repair and Towing Service at 260 Main St..

The lease changed hands several times following DeMyer’s management, and was opened and closed sporadically before the Peckhams’ launched their venture. Leaseholders who operated the station between DeMyer’s tenure and the Peckhams’ business opening did not offer vehicle repairs or towing services.

Town Veteran’s Agent and former police Chief Michael Kennedy said that he remembers the station during the Denelli era as a hub of town-focused discussions and musings. Former town Selectman Charles T. Schlesinger termed the site “the place of the unofficial town meeting” when Denelli operated the business.

Shwirtz did not offer a timetable for the removal of the underground fuel storage tanks.

Susan Bush may be reached via e-mail at suebush@iberkshires.com or at 802-823-9367.
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