MARTINS FERRY - The Pit Stop Starfire Express is back in business and once again providing gasoline. The 25-year station hit its quarter century mark April 1 and Thomas Sikora, longtime owner who started the business, had feared that leasing conflicts might force him to close his doors in the near future. He had ceased fuel sales altogether.
However, the station has found a new buyer in Chuck Schyreach, who owns more than a dozen other stations in the area. Fuel service resumed last Monday and Sikora expects business as usual to resume as word spreads.
"It's getting better every day," he said. "Old customers are starting to come back."
T-L Photo/ROBERT A. DEFRANK
The Pit Stop is again selling fuel in the city of Martins Ferry after finding a new lease holder. The business that has been in operation for decades had recently closed its doors in the wake of lease issues. However, a new buyer has taken over the business and is welcoming back faithful patrons.
He added that he will not accept credit or debit card charges for the first month to give the station time to reestablish. He noted he paid for 18 hundred gallons, which remain in the ground and below pump level.
"That's a big deficit right there," he said. "I've got to get back on my feet."
He added that the city had been his biggest customer, including the police department and other agencies. He added that the Pit Stop's location in the center of town has made him familiar with the people of Martins Ferry.
"We're thankful all our old customers are coming back," he said.
The Pit Stop is located at the intersection of Zane Highway and Hanover Street. Hours are 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday.
DeFrank can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org