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GRANTS PASS, Ore,-- On Monday, the iconic Chevron on NW 6th Street in Grants Pass will no longer be pumping gas. Not just because Monday is a holiday, it’s closing for good and on a day longtime employee Rich Word will never forget.
“December 24th. Christmas Eve…Wow.” Word said in amazement. “My birthday is [on] Christmas so it's just a bummer. It's one of the worst birthday/Christmas presents I've ever had for a while."
He’s one of six employees unfortunately receiving their last paychecks on Christmas Eve. It’s been open for more than 80 years. The owner of the Chevron said there are two main reasons for closing: the prospect that the actual land owners might sell and expensive upgrades.
"It costs a lot of money to change your pumps and upgrade those and your computer systems. The tanks were put in 30 years ago or so that's right when I got hired,” added Word. “I actually met my girlfriend Mary the same time I got hired here. She came in here and we're still together to this day so that's good."
Even the customers are upset to see the station shut down. Some have even sent in Christmas cards. Grants Pass native Noel Sheckells has been coming here since he learned how to drive as a teenager and has grown to know all of the employees including Word.
“It’s really sad. I feel bad for the patrons and also the employees of this establishment. This is one of Grants Pass's staple gas stations. My first credit card which I still have today came from Chevron which, this is a Chevron station. It's quite a surprise," Sheckells said.
The hours are counting down until the gasoline stops flowing. As for what happens next for Word-- he's going to think about that later.
"We'll figure it out. We'll get through the holidays and then go on with that. It’s sad but life goes on."
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