TOWNSVILLE’S last truly independent, family-owned service station has reached the end of an era with the owners of four decades selling the business.
It will be a sad day for father and son owners Fred and Soren Nannestad when they hang up the pump one last time on March 14.
The service station has been sold to NightOwl, 47 years after Fred first worked at the site, which is expected to refurbish the business.
It signals a huge loss to the wider community who will lose the service station that still offers a driveway service. Fred said the decision to sell came after they were made an offer they simply couldn’t refuse.
“We had no intention of selling it because we spent a lot of money last year updating the pumps and the tanks,” he said “But somebody came in and offered us money we just couldn’t refuse.
“It will be sad, a lot of people still come in here because we are here, we say hello to them and that type of thing, and that will be gone. Some people have been coming here for years.”
MYUTE Rentals will continue to operate with Fred and Soren moving that arm of the business to 368 Ingham Road.
It comes as NightOwl teams up with Puma for a new dual convenience store and petrol station development on Hervey Range Road at Thuringowa Central.
That site will include a 32-hose fuel offering alongside a five-aisle NightOwl Store, expected to be completed in mid to late May.
It’s part of the company’s goal of opening 25 fuel retail sites over the next two years.
Soren said in order to keep up with the big companies, the business requires significant investment, which is difficult for smaller business owners.
“Over the years the whole service station industry has changed so much and grown so fast,” he said.
“Everything you do in the industry costs a lot of money, the regulations are changing constantly, there’s more paperwork and just getting the fuel delivered has changed so much.
“Then you’ve got all the big companies who’ve come in and changed the game and changed the way service stations are.
“We’ve already had five new service stations open up in the last 12 months, and about seven more to come to Townsville … which will make it hard for us to recoup the money we spent on this place if fuel sales go down.”
RACQ analysis suggests fuel retailer profits are about two-third convenience products and only one-third fuel.