Jay closes Shell Station, Subway will stay

Authored by Jim Langham on Apr 6, 2010

Due to plans to renovate the intersection of U.S. 27 and Indiana 218, Jay Petroleum, the parent company of the Pak-A-Sak Convenience Stores, and owner of the Berne Shell Station, opted to close the gasoline station on March 24. Jay Petroleum has operated a Shell Station in Berne since 1983, and relocated to the current site in 1994. Ron Freeman, president of Jay Petroleum, sited the Indiana Department of Transportation’s decision to expand the intersection as a major factor in the decision to close the gasoline portion of the business. The Subway Restaurant will remain open.

“The highway expansion will require the taking of all of the parking spaces in front of the Subway,” said Freeman. “Company officials were left with the decision of relocating the Subway or moving the parking to the opposite side of the building and closing the gasoline portion of the business. “The second option was chosen in part because Shell Oil Company was requiring a major upgrade to the gasoline credit card processing system, and the station had experienced declining volume and profit margins in recent years,” added Freeman. However, Freeman also expressed hope that Jay Petroleum and Shell will return to Berne in the future with the development of a Pak-A-Sak store.

Currently, plans are being made to remove the gasoline canopy and pumps and repave the parking lot for Subway customers. The Subway will also receive a major interior remodel. Brad Bailey, who had overseen the Berne station, said that he had received numerous comments from individuals who were disappointed with the removal of Shell, especially in light of the service provided by company employees. “It was the only station anywhere in the area that offered pump service where you didn’t have to pay for the service,” said Bailey. “We would like to thank all of our loyal customers for all of the good years of business they provided for us in this area.”

Company officials would like to remind Shell credit card holders that they can still find Shell gasoline at the Pak- A-Sak stores in Decatur and Bluffton. Shell Oil Company has had a long history of service to the Berne community.

The Berne Witness, July 3, 1940, records the sale of the Up-Town Shell Filling Station, located at the corner of Main and Behring Streets, to James Simon. That article indicates that Dale Ryf had purchased the business on Dec. 4, 1936. For many years, Wayne Stuckey operated a Shell Station just north of the Berne Clock Tower site, across from (then) Berne High School. The site of the Subway and the station which just closed was, for many years, the site of the Sinclair Super Service- Station, operated by Joyce Ellenberger and Forrest Balsiger.

The station was constructed as a “state of the art” facility in 1935, according to the newspaper of the time.

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