After more than a year, Jekyll Island gets gas
After 15-month wait, gasoline available on island
Georgia Times- Union
January 29, 2011
JEKYLL ISLAND - The out-of-gas warning signs came down along the Jekyll Island causeway Friday morning as a new Flash Foods opened on the island, replacing the sole gasoline station that closed more than a year ago.
Four Jekyll Island Authority workers hoisted the signs that asked, "On empty?'' and lowered them to the ground. The removal of the signs was a day that couldn't come soon enough for those who live and work on the island.
"We've been looking forward to this for so many years,'' Jimmy Dunn said as he filled his tank shortly after the store opened at 8 a.m.
Actually, Jekyll Island closed the station and had it torn down about 15 months ago. And it was last year that the authority shut down and razed its strip shopping center where Flash Foods had run the only convenience store. The grocery, bank and other businesses were moved to other locations, but Flash Foods had agreed to relocate on the old service station property.
Dunn, who is the general manager of the Beachview Club Hotel on the island, said it's not only cars that need gas.
"We need gas for mowers and blowers,'' he said of the hotel's maintenance workers. "We've had to drive all the way into Brunswick for two or three gallons of gas.''
It's been that way since Oct. 6, 2009, when customers slowly pumped the last six gallons of super unleaded out of the 40-year-old station's underground tanks. Those tanks figured in the delay of getting the station torn down and replaced. They had leaked, triggering an underground cleanup.
Island resident and businessman Clayton Porter gratefully pumped gasoline into his Cadillac SUV about 9 a.m.
"It's been a chore driving off the island,'' usually to a station about 12 miles away on Interstate 95, he said.
And the price, about 2 cents a gallon higher than on the mainland, is competitive, he said.
"If you drive off the island you're going to burn two to three gallons anyway,'' Porter said.
Porter doesn't use much gas getting around Jekyll. An owner of Red Bug Motors, which rents electric cars, Porter drives those around the island.
But there's more to the Flash Foods than gasoline. There's finally a place on the island to buy lottery tickets again and a Dairy Queen that shares the building will open in about a week, something that was not lost on Dunn.
"There's going be a place on the island to have lunch for under $10,'' he said.
For state trooper Gentry Maddox, the store provides an easy answer for a question he is asked too often.
"Especially at midnight,'' he said. "People were always asking where the closest gas is."
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Photos by David Egan